By: Doug McClean, FISU
Delegations from around the world came to the United States and Lake Placid last week for the Head of Delegations meeting in advance of the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games. Representatives from 21 nations came to learn more about ongoing planning and to continue their own preparations in advance of returning to Lake Placid and the surrounding Adirondack region, January 12-22, 2023.
Ashley Walden, executive director of the Adirondack Sports Council, the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games Organizing Committee, spoke at the final set of meetings about the importance of sport to the region. “Sport is interwoven and embedded in our culture in everything we do. It’s incredibly important to highlight university sports and the FISU Games.”
Throughout the week, members of the organizing committee guided delegations through the multiple venues where the world’s collegiate-athletes will compete in in less than four months. Those tours included Mt Van Hoevenberg; which is the site for Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon, Gore Mountain; where Snowboarding and Freeski will take place, and the Olympic Center; which will host Short Track Speed Skating, Figure Skating, and the semi-finals and finals of women’s and men’s Ice Hockey. Other visits included SUNY Canton’s Roos House and Clarkson University’s Cheel Arena; where men’s preliminary Ice Hockey rounds will be held, and SUNY Potsdam’s Maxcy Hall; the site for the preliminary rounds of the women’s Ice Hockey tournament.
Rather than one main athletes’ village, multiple accommodation sites will be used during the 11-day winter multisport and educational festival. School dormitories as well as hotels will be used to house the estimated 2,500 athletes, coaches, and officials.
“It was an intensive week to get to all the clusters, but the logistics were good, there was good information, and not a lot of resulting questions,” commented FISU Games Winter Director Milan Augustin. “We’re hoping people will return home with a good impression. There are top level venues in Lake Placid and while there are some challenges, overall the delegations are pleased.”
As with any major international sporting event, questions on visas, transportation, medical planning, and arrivals and departures were discussed. Adam Stigborn, from Sweden, discussed the overall feeling he has leading up to January. “It feels like student sports should be progressive and you want to host those events. Venues here in Lake Placid are used to hosting such competitions so it’s almost like having multiple world cups in one event. For every question you have, they have super confident personnel. It’s what they do every day so the focus becomes on other things related to the event as sports is so well in place.”
Fresh with visits to the venues and villages, as well as having heard the detailed planning information, delegations return home to finalize plans for their respective teams. FISU staff will return to Lake Placid for one final inspection visit in October as the home stretch to 12 January and the start of the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games begins.