January 12, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games
The rich heritage and pageantry of amateur sports was on full display at the opening ceremony of the 2023 FISU World University Games in Lake Placid at the iconic “Miracle on Ice” rink, made famous by the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Governor Kathy Hochul officially opened the 2023 FISU Games in Lake Placid, welcoming 1,443 student athletes from more than 540 universities and 46 countries to celebrate the biennial winter sports event.
The ceremony included greetings from the Oneida Indian Nation and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, elegant performances on the ice, oaths by athletes and officials, and the lighting of a unique flameless cauldron.
From January 12-22, FISU Games Lake Placid 2023 will host 12 winter sports and 85 events at venues across the Upstate New York region, including Lake Placid, Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Potsdam, Canton, and North Creek.
James B. McKenna, Chairman, Adirondack Sports Council, Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games Organizing Committee, told the assembled athletes: “We hope that these Games will fill you with the joy of sport and competition as you prepare to become the next generation of world leaders. You have the passion, commitment and skills to bring Save Winter to the forefront of global climate initiatives.”
Leonz Eder, acting president of FISUadded a warm welcome to athletes, officials and spectators… He said: “After the difficult years of the global pandemic, we finally meet again here at Lake Placid. The world’s young people have suffered hard in the name of the greater good and the global population. Seeing so many of them gathered here today is a particularly emotional moment that should make the World University Games a truly festive occasion, especially after the cancellation of Lucerne 2021. Lake Placid is a unique city that has created both legends and a legacy that endures. Inheritance is a gift that also carries a burden of responsibility. That’s why I’m proud that Lake Placid will host conferences and initiatives exploring the link between winter sports and climate change.”
“With the North Country of New York being known as the world’s winter sports destination, I can’t imagine a better place than Lake Placid to host the 2023 FISU World University Games.” said Governor Hochul. “After more than $550 million in renovations and state-supported investments in the North Country to prepare for the Games, New York City is poised to welcome athletes and spectators from around the world to our state. I wish the competing athletes good luck and thank FISU, the organizing committee and partners at every level of government for ensuring that this event will be a spectacular success. Let the game begin.”
The 11-day event is emblematic of New York State’s commitment to the region’s economy by upgrading the NYS Olympic Regional Development Authority’s Olympic venues in Lake Placid, as well as Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington and Gore Mountain in North Creek.
The Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games Organizing Committee has committed and will host by example to reduce the event’s environmental impact through renewable energy, a more sustainable supply chain and a rigorous recycling program.
Even the cauldron, the 3.6-metre tall symbol of the Games, is lit by LEDs rather than an open flame. Constructed of carbon steel, the upper edges represent the silhouettes of the High Peaks. The one-of-a-kind cauldron is decorated with cut-out winter sports pictograms, allowing the light from the intense LED-powered strobe in the core to shine through. The computer-integrated strobe is enhanced with a 45-foot LED light strip in the design.
The two-hour opening ceremony was graced by performances by students of the Joffrey Ballet School, the American Ice Theatre, professional ice skater Angela Kim and acrobatist Pawe? Walczewski.
The oath of the athletes was led by figure skater Ting Cui, a native of Maryland and a student at Middlebury College in Vermont, and the oath of officials was taken by Tim Burke, a four-time Olympic biathlete who calls Lake Placid his home.
Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games competitors didn’t have to look far for inspiration, beginning with the opening ceremony venue at Herb Brooks Arena in 1980, the outdoor James C. Sheffield Speed ??Skating Oval, where American speed skater Eric Heiden won a record-breaking five gold medals in 1980 olympic.
The village of Lake Placid was selected by FISU in March 2018 as the host city. The selection completes a sports history that includes two Olympic Winter Games, the 1972 FISU World University Games, the 2000 Goodwill Games and numerous World Cup and World Championship events.
The 2023 FISU World University Games will conclude on the evening of January 22 with a closing ceremony and the extinguishing of the cauldron, following the men’s gold medal hockey game at the Herb Brooks Arena.