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We're ready for the 2019 International Children's Winter Games

January 4, 2019
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Three years ago, after a contingent of 18 young Team Lake Placid athletes returned from the International Children's Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria, this village proposed hosting the games here. This coming week, that's exactly what's going to happen.

Lake Placid is hosting the 2019 International Children's Winter Games next week from Jan. 6 to 11, and the community is ready, according to ICWG Executive Director Eileen Mowrey. This is the first time the International Children's Winter Games have been held in the U.S.

"I think that this is a kind of event that Lake Placid is very accustomed to hosting," Mowrey said. "We're used to welcoming the world on a world stage. I think this is something that the community is looking forward to, is ready for, and it's certainly something that we as the organizing committee are excited to get underway."

Article Photos

Lake Placid’s 2019 International Children’s Winter Games mascot is Bernie the Bear.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

Lake Placid has hosted a number of international winter sporting events, from speedskating contests on Mirror Lake a century ago to the Olympic Winter Games in 1932 and 1980, a World University Games in 1972 and World Cup competitions such as luge, bobsled/skeleton and freestyle. Yet, 19 years after hosting the Winter Goodwill Games, Lake Placid is once again bidding for, being awarded and hosting Olympic-like international competitions. In 2023, for example, Lake Placid will again host the World University Games.

When Lake Placid hosts these types of competitions, the community usually gets involved - from volunteers to athletes to spectators. The International Children's Winter Games is an opportunity to show the world our community spirit, according to Mowrey.

"I think it's a good way to get the community thinking about their involvement in the international sports community again," Mowrey said. "It's certainly something that's always in the back of our minds, but to have 450 kids from 14 countries here I think is a good way to get people in that mindset again."

About 450 athletes ages 12 to 15 will compete from 33 cities spanning 14 countries in eight sports: alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, biathlon, long-track speedskating, figure skating and hockey. The events will be held at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington and the Olympic Jumping Complex, Olympic Speedskating Oval and Olympic Center in Lake Placid.

The International Children's Games were created 50 years ago, modeled after the Olympic Games. They are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, and the goal was to promote peace and friendship through sport and competition. Entry into competition for the ICWG is by invitation.

When Sue Cameron, Lake Placid's ICWG volunteer, VIP and delegations director, returned from the International Children's Summer Games in Jerusalem, Israel, last August, she stressed that having the best 12- to 15-year-old athletes in the world compete is not the point of the games.

"The selection process for the children that attend the children's games is kind of different from other events in that the elite athletes from each city are not necessarily the ones who are chosen to come," Cameron said. "They may well be, but they also base a lot of their selection process on what they think each child will get out of the event, the sportsmanship-type athlete, how they'll experience the cultural exchange. So there are a lot of elements that go with the selection of athletes, and it's not just to win everything."

Instead, the ICG also focuses on cultural exchange. The theme for Lake Placid's games is "Friendship and Sport Move Mountains."


Who is coming

Other than Lake Placid, teams representing the U.S. will come from the following cities: Cleveland, Ohio; Twinsburg, Ohio; Frisco, Colorado; and Roseville, Minnesota. Team Lake Placid includes 67 athletes from the area, according to Mowrey.

"We have a very large Lake Placid delegation, and those kids are going to be interacting with other athletes from all over the world," Mowrey said. "I think that's a really good introduction to international sporting."

The other cities participating will be: Graz and Innsbruck, Austria; Ancaster, Hamilton, Kelowna, Penticton, Port Moody and Windsor, Canada; Beijing and Changbaishan, China; Tartu, Estonia; Darmstadt, Germany; Naoussa, Greece; Szombathely, Hungary; Akureyri and Reykjavik, Iceland; Kaunas, Lithuania; Alkmaar, Netherlands; Gorje, Ljubno, Maribor and Velenje, Slovenia; Daegu, South Korea; and Delemont, Lausanne, Montreux, Saanen and Vevey, Switzerland.

The athletes arrive in Lake Placid on Sunday, Jan. 6 and leave Friday, Jan. 11. Headquarters for the ICWG will be the Lake Placid Conference Center, and the transportation hub will be the Main Street parking lot near the post office.

When not competing, athletes will get to meet fellow competitors through social activities aimed at inter-cultural learning and fellowship. They will gather together each night at in the conference center for learning activities and presentations, including a snowshoe expo, an Olympic athlete meet and greet, and team-building games by Experience Outdoors.

Athletes will participate in the opening ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7. After the closing ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 10, there will be an Athlete Celebration - dance and skating party - at the conference center while the VIP Reception is held at Nicola's restaurant across the street.

In addition to the athletes, there will be about 300 VIPs: coaches, heads of delegations, ICWG committee members and city representatives. The delegations and VIPs are staying at three hotels: Crowne Plaza Resort, Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort and Hotel North Woods.



Monday is set aside as a training day for athletes, but spectators will be able to attend the opening ceremony that evening at the 1980 Rink - Herb Brooks Arena in the Olympic Center.

"We want to give the kids a really big, energetic welcome to the community and a big kickoff for the games, so we would like to have the community there and bring the spirit of Lake Placid," Mowrey said.

The opening ceremony is free, open to the public. A live performance by the Montreal-based circus group THROW2CATCH will entertain the audience with acrobatics, dance, theater and music. A local Adirondack choir of 150 students will perform, and there will be the lighting of the cauldron, signifying the opening of the games. The master of ceremonies will be magician and mentalist Gary Ferrar, of New York City. Doors open at 6:30, and tickets are not needed.

Competition is held throughout Tuesday and will end with an Athlete Parade starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Conference Center and ending at Mid's Park on Main Street, where a fireworks display over Mirror Lake will begin around 7:45 p.m. The public is invited to attend these events. Main Street will be closed to traffic during the parade.

Competition continues through Wednesday and Thursday, and the games will end with a Closing Ceremony starting ay 7 p.m. in the 1932 Rink - Jack Shea Arena in the Olympic Center.

Admission to all the events is free. The only exception is taking the chairlift at the Olympic Jumping Complex and for skiers and snowboarders who want to take a lift to see the competition at Whiteface. There is an option for non-skier spectators to watch the competition at the finish line at Whiteface by taking a chairlift, but they have to walk back down to the lodge.

Support for the International Children's Winter Games 2019 is provided by Market NY through the I LOVE NY/New York State's Division of Tourism as a part of the Regional Economic Development Council awards. Local support come from the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, state Olympic Regional Development Authority and the Adirondack North Country Sports Council. For more information, visit online,


Team Lake Placid

Here are the names of the students representing Team Lake?Placid during the 2019 International Children's Winter Games: Pierson Shute, Alexander Saltsman, Brayden Munn, Nicholas Munn, Sydnee Francis, Olivia Cook, Micaela Leonard, Cole Paton, Olivia Ferebee, Kade Cook, Luke Miller, Cassandra Clarke, Jordanna Samburgh, Jon Kratts, Joseph Galperin, Gabriel Hasselback, Tate Frantz, Andrew Scanio, Ellie Evans, Lilly Rother, Maise Crane, Sydney Lawrence, Abigail Van Dorn, Max Flanigan, Will Douglas, Sonja Toishi, Kate Broderick, Rowen Norfolk, Alex Wright, Dan Kelleher, Carter Day, Dariana Patterson, Danaya Patterson, Iliana Smith, Paige Melicant, Brendan Bullock, Peppi DelliQuadri, Lukas Klemm, Jackson Smith, Katie Liebowitz, Kim Douglas, Dave Webb, Keith Clark, Mark Gilligan, Tim Burke, Heidi Roland, Cooper Rose, Marc Bilow, Claudia LaPlant, Abby Monette, Alyx St. Hillaire, Julia Perras, Vail St. Hilaire, Shea Hogan, Sophia Kelting, Avery Holland, Bryan Jones, Tyler Berkman, Rick Berkman, Jakob Lynch, Anna Reynolds, Daven Linck, Galen Halasz, Bella Wissler, Liam Nobles, Robbie Sinclair, Sydney Dann, Bailey Bartholemew, Carter Sturgeon, Joshua Dann, Ellie Ripchik, Sammy Hart-Gorman, Griffin Shaheen, Julie Gehring, John Norton, Andris Blumbergs, Mike Kirchner, Shane MacDowell, Owen Keal, Noah Kenyon and Luke Moffett.



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