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Venues ready for International Children’s Games

November 23, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - With the Winter International Children's Games less than two months away, a technical commission group from the governing body visited the village Wednesday, Nov. 14 to inspect venues and lodging accommodations.

The ICG is a International Olympic Committee-sanctioned competition expected to draw between 500 and 600 student-athletes ages 12 to 15 from cites around the world to compete in events such as Alpine skiing, biathlon, hockey, speedskating and more from Jan. 6 to 11.

The United States hosted the summer games in 2004 and 2008 in Cleveland and San Francisco, respectively, but this will be the first time the country hosts the winter games. They took place in North America once, in Kelowna, British Columbia, in 2011.

Article Photos

From left, International Children’s Games Secretary General Richard Smith, committee member Zlatko Kauran, committee member Hugh Waters and Vice President Igor Topole pose for a photo Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Crowne Plaza Lake Placid hotel.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

The technical commission visited the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington, the Olympic Center on Main Street, and the Olympic Jumping Complex on state Route 73, where jumping and nordic skiing events will take place. The commission also visited a few hotels in the area.

ICG Vice President Igor Topole of Slovenia said the visit is to ensure a successful winter games.

"We talk to chief referees, we talk to sport directors to see if everything is ready because when the children are here, everything must be at ICG standards," he said.

"I think all the venues are ready. You just need enough snow on Whiteface for skiing and snowboarding, but all the other venues are looking great. We could start tomorrow if we wanted to."

Whiteface had already started making snow at the time and opened on Nov. 17.

ICG Secretary General Richard Smith, who's originally from the U.S. and now lives in Germany, said the venues in Lake Placid are relatively similar to the ones in other hosts cities.

"Lake Placid has had the Olympics here two times, and you can see it on the equipment," he said, "but it's about the same as other venues around the world as far as winter goes. The vicinity here is the big factor. We don't have to travel more than 15 minutes or so to get to the farthest sports site. This is very important to us because we're coming to a small community. We've been at some winter games where the city doesn't even know that we're there. We're going to become a part of the community, and we're very happy about that."

ICG committee member Hugh Waters of Scotland said a successful winter games is a combination of good facilities, organizers, transportation, catering and housing, all of which Lake Placid has.

"Everything we've seen on our visit is first class," he said.

Smith said the goal of the ICG is different from that of the International Olympic Commission. Sponsors and media coverage are relatively low, meaning the ICG is less of a product like the Olympics and more of an experience for the participants.

"The ICG ideals say that we use sports to get the cultural interaction between the children," Smith said. "This is the main thing for the ICG, and that's why this small community here is very important. They're going to be right next to each other for five days. We have a wonderful local organizing committee, and we're ready to start."



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