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    Warren County Watch Extra
    A column by Maury Thompson about economic development, business and quality of life in Warren County
    Region to host 2023 Winter World University Games
    Warren County will play a role in an international collegiate sporting event to be based in Lake Placid.
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 5 announced the Adirondack North Country Global Sports Committee has entered an agreement to host the 2023 Winter World University Games at Lake Placid, with events to be staged at Olympic Regional Development Authority facilities and other venues around the region.
    A final contract must be signed before June 15.
    The games will bring about 2,400 athletes from more than 50 countries, including some Olympic hopefuls, to compete in the 11-day event that will include competitions in skiing, speed skating, figure skating, hockey, biathlon and curling.
    Athletes ages 17-24 must have been a student, within the previous year, at a college or university.
    "The state Gore Mountain Ski Center in Johnsburg is expected to host the downhill slalom and giant slalom snowboarding events, and the ski cross and boardercross racing events," said Jeffery Byrne, vice president of ORDA.
    Byrne, a member of the EDC Warren County board, and state Senator Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, were among a group of regional leaders that traveled to Switzerland on March 2 to make a final presentation to the International University Sports Federation and to sign a memorandum of understanding to host the games.
    "It was a very successful trip. We had a great team," Byrne said.
    "I join the bid organizers and those championing for the event in celebrating the good news," Little said.
    "The announcement is timely, as funding to improve ORDA venues is a priority of the proposed new state budget," she said.
    "Congratulations to Governor Cuomo and the negotiating team of EDC Member Jeffery Byrne and Senator Elizabeth Little. This event will be significant for the region particularly Warren County and the events to be held at Gore Mountain," said EDC President & CEO Ed Bartholomew.
    Adirondack North Country Global Sports Committee had been negotiating with the International University Sports Federation for about 18 months.
    As part of that process, the International University Sports Foundation visited New York and toured sports facilities, venues and lodging properties in Essex, Franklin, Clinton, St. Lawrence and Warren counties.
    The Winter World University Games is held every two years, usually outside the United States.
    New York is the only state that has ever hosted the games, at Lake Placid in 1972 and at Buffalo in 1993.
    "The internationally televised games will be a boon for tourism, not just from the direct impact, but also from the standpoint of international publicity for the region," Cuomo said.
    "Lake Placid is the perfect location to host this event, which will showcase the very best of New York and the North Country to an international audience," he said.
    The bid agreement is the latest of several successful international bids as the Lake Placid area builds on its history of hosting the Olympic Winter Games in 1932 and 1980.
    Lake Placid will host the International Children's Games in 2019 and the Bob Sled and Skeleton World Championships in 2021.
    "We're a destination known worldwide because so many people know and love the history of the Olympics at Lake Placid," said Sen. Little. "Attracting these games will help ensure we remain relevant as a winter sports mecca."
    "Congratulations to Lake Placid for earning this distinction within the international sports realm," said state Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury.
    U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, said she met with members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors to discuss how she can be of assistance with preparation for the 2023 Winter World University Games.
    "With its rich Olympic history, great training climate, exceptional facilities, and strong local support, there is no better place to host these games than in Lake Placid," Stefanik said.
    Maury Thompson covered the region for The Post-Star for 21 years before retiring in September. He keeps his finger on the pulse of economic development, business and quality of life in Warren County by writing a twice-a-month column for EDC Warren County. Watch for his next regular bi-monthly column on March 16.
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