LAKE PLACID - This village isn't wasting time in trying to bring three big international sports events to the Adirondacks over a five-year span.
At Monday night's regularly scheduled village board meeting, the board unanimously approved Lake Placid's letter of intent to host the first of the three: the International Children's Games, here in 2019. The approved application serves as the final hurdle in formally applying, Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall said.
Randall said to his knowledge no other city has expressed interest in hosting the 2019 games. The village may get word on its request as soon as this summer.
Joey Izzo of Lake Placid, second from left, receives a medal for nordic skiing in the International Children's Games in January 2016 in Innsbruck, Austria. (Photo provided)
"And we understand, they have a strong interest in Lake Placid becoming a site," Randall said. "I think it's been a long time since there was a North American site."
This past summer, the secretary general of the International Children's Games, Richard Smith, visited Lake Placid in June to talk about when, not if, the area could host the International Olympic Committee-sanctioned event for 12- to 15-year-olds.
The mayor added that village personnel including him, North Elba town Councilman Jay Rand (a 1968 Winter Olympic ski jumper) and Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO Jim McKenna also met with International Children's Games representatives last month while on a layover returning from a Lake Placid delegation's trip to Almaty, Kazakhstan, to learn more about potentially hosting the World University Games.
"We had a seven-hour layover in Frankfurt (Germany) about 20 minutes from where (the International Children's Games) offices are," Randall said. "So we actually had a meeting with them at the airport to get further clarification and to let them know what our interests were.
"This is an interesting group," Randall added of the International Children's Games. "They basically kind of pick where they want to go."
The letter of intent does not commit the village financially to any part of hosting the event. The village has pursued bringing the International Children's Games here over the past year, after a group of more than a dozen local children competed in the 2016 event in Innsbruck, Austria.
Randall reiterated that he, McKenna and area lodging properties believe the event is of an appropriate size to easily host in the village. He also said Lake Placid hosting would open up invitations to more American cities than in previous International Children's Games.
"They do invite some already," Randall said, "but we can add to that invitation list. It's a nice opportunity for Lake Placid."
World University Games and Special Olympics
Randall, McKenna and Rand will also travel to Lausanne, Switzerland, and Graz, Austria, later this month for meetings with World University Games and Special Olympics representatives.
The trip to Lausanne will also include Clarkson University Vice President of External Relations Kelly Ogden-Chezum and legal advisor Douglas Stewart. It comes after the Lake Placid contingent visited the 2017 World University Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan, last month and debriefed the public on that trip on Feb. 14.
At that debriefing, the contingent also informed those in attendance that they want to bring the three international events to the Adirondacks over five years: the International Children's Games in 2019, the Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2021 and the World University Games in 2023.
Randall said costs for airfare and lodging for the trip would come from village funds budgeted for meetings, conferences and travel. Moving forward, he said he talked to McKenna and village Treasurer Paul Ellis about creating an organization to address continued exploritory travel expenses in the future.
The European trip, which will coincide with this village's election on March 21. His mayoral seat will be on the ballot, though he isn't facing opposition. The cost of the trip wasn't immediately available.
Randall said the Lake Placid contingent will be in Laussane meeting with World University Games representatives on March 20 and 21, and then two more days of meetings with Special Olympics representatives in Graz. The 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games are scheduled from March 14 to the 25 in Graz, Schladming, Ramsau and Styria - cities that span a wide geographical distance from the western border of Austria next to Germany to near the Slovenian and Hungarian borders in the east.
"Let's just say that each one of these are in the exploratory stages," Randall said. "I don't think we would move (to formally applying to host)."