Universiade inspection is underway

Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Officials started Monday in P’burgh, Tuesday in Placid

LAKE PLACID — The bid to host the 2023 Winter World University Games is in, and Lake Placid is unopposed. Now the next part of the process is seeing if this village and its partners around the North Country have the proper facilities, venues and lodging to host such a large event.

Members of the International University Sport Federation (FISU) site evaluation team, members of the Adirondack North Country Global Sports Committee and United States International University Sports Federation (USIUSF) Secretary General Delise O’Meally have started their evaluations and will explain them Friday at a press conference at the Cloudspin Lounge in the Main Lodge at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington.

The winter version of the World University Games, also known as the Universiade, would invite more than 3,000 athletes, delegates and officials from 60 countries for 11 days of winter sports competition. Some of the proposed events include skiing skating, hockey and curling.

When FISU representatives visited Lake Placid this past June, winter games Director Milan Augustin commented on the venues, saying “There is plenty of work to do, of course, but already know we would like to use the existing facilities.”

Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism spokeswoman Carrie Gentile said the teams have started their evaluations and will continue until the FISU group and O’Meally leave Saturday.

She said the six-member FISU team visited SUNY Plattsburgh Monday night to look over the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. The teams visited venues in Lake Placid such as the Olympic Center ice rinks, the ski jumping complex, the Olympic Training Center, the North Elba Show Grounds and the Olympic Speedskating Oval Tuesday.

Today the teams will inspect the Wild Center museum and civic center arena in Tupper Lake, Northwood School in Lake Placd, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Paul Smith’s College, SUNY Potsdam, North Country Community College and an undisclosed location for a potential athletes village. The teams will also meet Saranac Lake village Mayor Clyde Rabideau to discuss possible locations for a curling facility.

On Thursday the teams will look over hotels and lodging amenities throughout the North Country. On Friday they will evaluate Whiteface and Gore Mountain ski centers. The FISU team will evaluate Plattsburgh International Airport as they leave from there Saturday.

If multiple venues and facilities require massive overhauls, Lake Placid might be in luck. Gov. Cuomo proposed a $62.5 million investment into state Olympic Regional Development Authority facilities in his state budget earlier this month. Of that, $50 million would go toward a “strategic upgrade and modernization plan to support improvements to the Olympic facilities and ski resorts” while $10 million would go toward maintanence and energy efficient upgrades.

In a previous interview, ROOST President and CEO James McKenna said even if the governor’s proposed investment doesn’t pass through the state Legislature, the Global Sports Committee will still proceed with trying to acquire funding for the games.

“We have five years,” McKenna said. “I think there would be an ongoing effort. We hope when the budget’s in place, [the $62.5 million] is there, and if it’s not, then we’ll come up with another round.”

The Lake Placid committee will make its final presentation to FISU in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 2.

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