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Miracle off the ice: a day with the volunteers on the opening ceremony

Miracle off the ice: a day with the volunteers at the opening ceremony

January 13, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games

Miracle off the ice: a day with the volunteers at the opening ceremony

January 12, 2023 was the day everyone had been waiting for since 2019 due to the cancellation of the 2021 Universiade Lucerne. This marked the opening ceremony of the FISU World University Games in Lake Placid 2023.

In the afternoon, the torch arrived at the historic Olympic Center in Lake Placid, where the magic of the miracle on ice from the 1980 Winter Olympics took place.

At 5:00 p.m., athletes, coaches, and delegations from over 40 countries around the world traveled to Herb Brooks Arena to celebrate the beginning of the spectacular stories of these hard-working student-athletes.

As they passed through security, they bumped into Charlie Jessen, one of the Lake Placid 2023 volunteers.

Jessen started his shift bright and early at 5am. The first thing he did was “set up the garbage cans,” he chuckles.

Jessen works on sustainability and Save the winter, a movement where experts come together to find ways to preserve winter. And they will gather for three days at the FISU World Conference in Lake Placid 2023 (January 13-15), which will explore the intersection of climate change and winter sports

After Jessen proposed planting a tree, the delegations were met by LJ Swanson, another volunteer, who led them to Herb Brooks Arena.

“It’s crowd control and I’ve stopped a lot of people who wanted to go directly to the opening ceremony and couldn’t get in that way. So they’re a little crazy,” Swanson said.

Swanson is a teacher at Suny Plattsburgh and has volunteered at many events including Whiteface Races, Winter Carnival and Ski Club at Saranac Lake.

Another Olympic volunteer is Ashley Rooker, a student at Paul Smith’s College. She had to move off campus so the athletes could move in, so she thought it would be fun to attend the event.

“It was really cool to see everyone come together and learn to communicate with each other based on our barriers and all,” said Rooker.

This is her first volunteering at an international event and she looks forward to participating again in the future.

As you pass these three amazing people, you will meet even more volunteers who will guide you to another historic site, the 1932 Jack Shea Arena, and following their directions, here is the day everyone has been waiting for: Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games officially open.

Written by Diana Hong, FISU Young Reporter

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