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01 February 2018 | in FISU, Winter FISU World University Games, Multisports

In Lake Placid, a winter sports hub bids for the 2023 Winter Universiade


FISU is in the American winter sports destination village to meet with sports leaders to evaluate Lake Placid’s plan to host the Winter Universiade again



LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK – The FISU Winter Universiade team is on tour to the United States for an official evaluation visit to the Adirondack region for Lake Placid’s bid to host the 2023 Winter Universiade.


Members of the International University Sport Federation (FISU) site evaluation team, led by Vice President Marian Dymalski, are in upstate New York for six days with sports leaders and government officials to take an in-depth look into the sport and education venues, accommodation options and sports event management know-how in the area. Joining the FISU Evaluation Committee Chair Dymalski in Lake Placid are Eric Saintrond, Roger Roth, Milan Augustin, Paola Matringe and Torin Koos. 

 The FISU delegation with Lake Placid organisers on the ice of the Herb Brooks Arena, home of "Miracle of Ice"


An outdoor sports destination, Lake Placid has a storied history in international sports, particularly the winter variety. The village hosted the 1972 World University Games along with the Olympic Winter Games in 1932 and 1980. Winter Universiade bid organisers spoke about how hosting the FISU event was the catalyst to Lake Placid’s successful 1980 bid to host the Games with the International Olympic Committee. The American village is part of an elite group of six past Winter Universiade cities that have also hosted the Olympic Winter Games.


“We had very good memories from hosting the FISU World University Games back in ’72 and then ’74 of course came around and we got the Olympic bid for ‘80,” longtime Lake Placid mayor Craig Randall said. “There was this strong momentum in town. There was this very high community spirit that the FISU event generated. The ’80 Olympic bid really became a reality in my opinion from the good memories we had here from hosting the FISU Universiade.”

 Over forty years later, memorabilia from the 1972 World University Games can be found around Lake Placid


The Winter Universiade would be the first major multi-sports event in Lake Placid in over 40 years. The area, however, is well versed in international winter sports events. Since the 1980 Olympics, the village has hosted over 100 World Cup competitions and 14 world championships in addition to numerous other national and University Sport competitions.


Many of the facilities, though, are showing their age. The region’s sports facilities need upgrades and improvements to continue hosting sport events at an international standard. But the spirit to being an international player in the winter sports event industry and the history from hosting is as bright as ever.


FISU visited Paul Smith's College, the proposed site for the Ski Orienteering competitions  

Lake Placid and the Adirondack Region have a special union with international winter sports and provided the iconic location for such memorable performances as Eric Heiden (five gold medals) and USA Hockey’s “Miracle on Ice.”


Walking into Herb Brooks Arena that could be centre ice for Men’s Hockey finals at the 2023 Winter Universiade, Mr. Roth said that “you can still feel the atmosphere that was present here. I vividly remember watching the U.S. team defeated Russia on the TV. Being here, you are touched by the history that happened here.”


The Herb Brooks Arena from the Olympic Games Lake Placid 1980 could be the arena used for the semi-finals and finals of Ice Hockey 

An active outdoor lifestyle is part-and-parcel of everyday Lake Placid life for many residents, and one that owes credit to the work of the Olympic Regional Development Agency (ORDA). Formed following the 1980 Olympic Games, this precedent-setting legacy planning group is charged with overseeing the local and state government investment in the area’s winter sports venues, supporting their use for competitive and community use alike.


The State of New York and Governor Cuomo have been strong supporters of the process in recent years, committing resources to get the area’s winter sports infrastructure back at a world-class level.


The K120 and K90 ski jumps are an indelible part of the Lake Placid skyline

All told, ORDA centrally manages five area sports venues that employ 250 people year-round and 2,000 people during the peak winter season. Lake Placid bid organisers pointed out how they could draw on their decades of major sports events hosting experience and how having a very passionate community for university winter sports sets up the region for having an even stronger legacy from hosting the Winter Universiade again.


Lake Placid's venues are steeped in history, including the long track Speed Skating venue that saw hometown hero Jack Shea win two golds at the 1932 Olympics and USA's Eric Heiden win all five Speed Skating events at 1980 Games 

FISU is set to attribute the 2023 Winter Universiade at the Executive Committee meetings from the 1-3 March in Lausanne, Switzerland. Mr. Saintrond sounded enthused with Lake Placid’s bid.


The Team USA Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid would play a part in the support and accomodation for athletes if the Lake Placid bid is accepted 

“Lake Placid presented a very strong and well-developed bid dossier to FISU,” he said. “Now we are doing our due diligence and seeing how this plan could best come to life. But one thing is certain, there is great potential here to put on another memorable Winter Universiade for the student-athletes that leaves lasting benefits to Lake Placid and the surrounding communities in the North Country.”