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Home News Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games opening ceremony celebrate heritage, sustainability and the athletes!

Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games opening ceremony celebrate heritage, sustainability and the athletes!

Winter Games 12 January 2023

The rich heritage and pageantry of amateur sports was on full display during the Opening Ceremony of the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games on the iconic “Miracle on Ice” rink made famous during the 1980 winter Olympics.

Governor Kathy Hochul officially opened the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games welcoming 1,443 student-athletes from more than 540 universities and 46 nations gathered to celebrate the biennial multi-winter sports event.

The ceremony included greetings from the Oneida Indian Nation and Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, elegant on-ice performances, athletes’ and officials’ oaths, and the lighting of a one-of-a-kind flameless cauldron.

The Jan. 12-22 Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games will feature competition in 12 winter sports and 85 events in venues throughout New York State’s north country region to include Lake Placid, Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Potsdam, Canton and North Creek.

James B. McKenna, chairman of the Adirondack Sports Council, the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games’ Organizing Committee, told the assembled athletes, “We hope that these Games fill you with the joy of sport and competition as you prepare to assume your role as the next generation of global leaders. You have the passion, commitment and skills to elevate Save Winter to the forefront of global climate initiatives.”

Leonz Eder, FISU acting president, added his warm welcome to athletes, officials and spectators…He said: “After the harsh years of the global pandemic, we finally meet again here in Lake Placid. The world’s young people suffered hard on behalf of the greater good and the global population. To see so many of them gathered here today is a particularly emotional moment, which should make these World University Games a truly festive occasion, especially after the cancellation of Lucerne 2021. Lake Placid is a special city that has created both legends and a legacy that endures.  Legacy is a gift that also bears the weight of responsibility. It’s why I am proud that Lake Placid will play host to conferences and initiatives examining the relationship between winter sports and climate change.”

“With New York’s North Country known as a global winter sports destination, I can’t think of a better place than Lake Placid to host the 2023 FISU World University Games,” Governor Hochul said. “After more than $550 million in state-supported renovations and investments in the North Country to prepare for the games, New York is ready to welcome athletes and spectators from all over the world to our state. I wish the best of luck to the athletes competing, and I thank FISU, the organizing committee and partners at every level of government for ensuring that this event is a resounding success. Let the Games begin.”

The 11-day event is a symbol of New York State’s commitment to the region’s economy through the modernization of the NYS Olympic Regional Development Authority’s  Lake Placid Olympic venues, as well as Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington and Gore Mountain in North Creek.

The Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games’ Organizing Committee has pledged, and will host by example, to reduce the environmental impact of the event through renewable energy, a more sustainable supply chain and a rigorous recycling program.

Even the cauldron, the 3.6 meter-tall symbol of the Games, is illuminated by LED lights rather than an open flame. Built from carbon steel, the top borders depict the silhouettes of the High Peaks. The one-of-a-kind cauldron is ribboned with winter sports pictogram cutouts, allowing light from an intense LED-powered strobe at the core to shine through. The computer-integrated strobe is enhanced by 45 meters of LED light tape within the structure.

The two-hour Opening Ceremony was studded with performances by Joffrey Ballet School students, the American Ice Theatre, and professional skater Angela Kim and aerialist Pawel Walczewski.

The athletes’ oath was led by figure skater Ting Cui, a Maryland native and student at Vermont’s Middlebury College, and the officials’ oath was performed by Tim Burke, a four-time Olympic biathlete who calls Lake Placid home.

Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games’ competitors did not have to go far for inspiration, beginning with the site of the Opening Ceremony in the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena, named for the coach of the 1980 gold-medal U.S. Olympic hockey team, and steps away from the outdoor James C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval where, in 1980, American speed skater Eric Heiden skated to a record five Olympic gold medals.

The Village of Lake Placid was selected by FISU in March 2018 to be the host city. The selection adds to a sports history that includes two Winter Olympics, the 1972 FISU World University Games, the 2000 Goodwill Games and numerous World Cup and World Championship events.

The 2023 FISU World University Games will conclude on the evening of Jan. 22 with a Closing Ceremony and the extinguishing of the cauldron, after the men’s gold medal hockey game in the Herb Brooks Arena.