One of the biggest sporting events in the world comes to the Adirondacks in January. The World University Games will bring more than 1,500 college athletes from around the world to compete in Lake Placid.
With just a few weeks until opening ceremonies, International University Sports Federation officials recently conducted a final inspection tour of the village to see just how ready the region is for the games.
The event is a chance for Lake Placid to show off, but also put some concerns to rest.
“It helps our confidence," said Milan Augustin, director of the federation’s Winter Universiade. "This is the first point where we can easily get good sleep, I would say. We can finalize things not only here, but as well when we get home. We can discuss.”
Augustin made the trip from Europe to see the venues firsthand. He is double- and triple-checking logistics, events, transportation, security, COVID-19 guidelines and anti-doping operations.
“There are a couple of things which still need to be conducted in order to finish," he said. "That’s why we are here on our final visit. We are trying to give some advice to this committee how to basically deal with the last readiness.”
But that, he said, comes with every event. Overall, he could not have been happier.
It wasn’t that long ago New York state provided $125 million to upgrade Lake Placid's Olympic Venues. Augustin said it was unbelievable to see how far the village has come.
“I have seen the evolution from the beginning, and not only for the last five or six years, but already before 20 years," he said. "When I go here and I see this is amazing how Lake Placid has improved the facilities."
In the end, he said, the trip helped validate the federation’s decision to select Lake Placid as 2023 host.
“The people who basically were running the project were behind it very strongly to convince the executive board of FISU that the games belonged to this region and famous I call it, famous Lake Placid, because we don’t have a lot of places around the world who can organize two games, winter games, as well as two Olympics,” Augustin said.
He believes this will not be a one-off.
Lake Placid has shown it can handle FISU events and together, both can make an impact on sports and the Adirondack community. By the way, some of the events will be held outside of Lake Placid at venues located in Saranac Lake, Wilmington, North Creek, Canton and Potsdam.