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UP CLOSE: Meet biathlon ambassador Sophia Kelting

January 4, 2019
By AARON CERBONE - For the News ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - As hundreds of student athletes from 14 different countries arrive in town for the 8th International Children's Winter Games this week, Saranac Lake eighth-grader Sophia Kelting is preparing mentally and physically to meet and compete with peers from around the globe.

The ICG is a winter sports competition from Jan. 6 to the 11 where about 450 student athletes - including 63 local athletes - ages 12-15 from around the world will participate in events such as hockey, alpine skiing and biathlon.

Kelting will compete in the biathlon events representing the Lake Placid team. She has been cross-country skiing as long as she can remember and is a high performer on the Saranac Lake ski team.

Article Photos

Eighth grader Sophia Kelting will represent Lake Placid at the International Children’s Winter Games next week, racing in her first competitive biathlon event.
(News photo — Justin A. Levine)

"I started as soon as I could walk," Kelting said, remembering the days her mother, Polly, would take her out to the trails on Dewey Mountain all afternoon.

Kelting has been competing on skis for a long time but added shooting portion of biathlon last summer. This will be her first biathlon competition.

Although she is nervous about the races, she is excited to meet fellow students from other countries, especially those from the Nordic region. Those students are fast on skis, she said, and she wants to learn more about their culture.

When they aren't matching skills on the Olympic Jumping Complex trails, racers will be able to mingle at dinners, a button exchange and an ice cream social. Kelting said she is taking French in school, so she will be able to chat with other French speakers, such as the athletes from Switzerland.

Kelting is going to physical therapy this week as she recovers from a knee injury she got in aggressive soccer games this past summer, but she said she will be ready to represent Lake Placid in the competitive international event. She already came in first place at her first varsity race earlier this year.

Cleveland and San Francisco have hosted the summer games in 2004 and 2008, respectively, but this will be the first time a U.S. city hosts the winter ICG.

Other sports at the event include hockey, alpine and nordic skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, speedskating and figure skating. They are being held at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, Olympic Jumping Complex, Olympic Speedskating Oval and Olympic Center.

All the competitions are open to the public and are free. Some exceptions apply at Whiteface Mountain.

The opening ceremony on Monday Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. will be held in the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena in the Olympic Center.

The athlete's parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the Conference Center (2608 Main St.) and ends at Mid's Park on Main Street. Fireworks over Mirror Lake start at 7:45 p.m.

The Closing ceremony sill start at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10 at the 1932 Rink Jack Shea arena at the Olympic Center.



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