More Than $500 Million in State Investments Have Upgraded and Improved Region's Winter Sports Infrastructure
Medals Developed in Collaboration With Alfred University Faculty and Students Using Sustainably-Sourced Glass; Photos Available Here
ESPN Chosen as Official Television and Digital Distributor; Will Carry Nearly 160 Hours of Coverage Across Networks
Event and Competition Schedule Released Here; Tickets Go On Sale September 1
Governor Hochul: "It's the first time in 30 years that these games are being held in the United States, long overdueWe've had the summer games in Buffalo in 1993. We had the winter games here in '72, but now it's time for us to shine again. And I can't wait to cheer on the athletes and all the excitement."
Hochul: "We've already invested over $400 million in the past five years to modernize all the ORDA facilities. They are spectacular. I love going up here, coming up here every year and seeing them. But this year's budget, I said, we're not done. We put another $105 million to finish the job to make sure that when the athletes come here, that they leave with this sense that this really was a phenomenal world-class experience. So, we've also supported the revitalizations of some of the other facilities in the North Country."
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the new medal design and competition schedule for the upcoming Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games, six months before the games are set to begin. The Games will leverage more than $500 million in state funding committed to upgrade Olympic Regional Development Authority sports venues and facilities in the North Country and surrounding region. Additionally, Governor Hochul announced ESPN has been named the official television and digital distributor of the Games, and that ticket sales will begin on September 1.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Thank you very much. Thank you. So happy to be back here. Thank you. I heard the music. The Beach Boys, I love the Beach Boys. But good vibrations: I sure feel good vibrations today, do we not? This is an extraordinary milestone. It's not 100 days or something special, it's 137 days till our big opening ceremonies, but I am real excited about this.
First of all, to be back here again, it's extraordinary. The air feels better, the skies are brighter. It's just such a beautiful place year-round here. And I am no stranger. I was just, you mentioned Joe, that I have a new grandchild, a two-month-old baby. And I was talking to my son. He says, "Mom, like things like Santa Claus and everything like that. Like how long does it take? When do I have to tell her?" I said, "Honey, when we brought you up to Santa's Workshop at the North Pole when you were a kid, you believed until you were about 20." That is the most realistic place in the world, and so I've come here countless times to celebrate and bring my family here for camping and vacations. So, no one needs to sell me on the grandeur of the North Country. It is extraordinary.
I do want to acknowledge - I know a lot of the elected officials were acknowledged here today, but just to give a special shoutout to my partners in state government because we need each other. We work closely together to deliver for the North Country, something I truly believe in. Let's give a warm welcome to Dan Stec, our State Senator, and thank him for his service. Matt Simpson, our Assemblymember, thank you. Billy Jones, working together long, long time when we were in local government, and I thank him. Of course, I'll be walking the town with the Mayor and I've already been offered a beer at the brewery, nothing new here. Hochul's back at the breweries in Lake Placid. So, looking forward to working with Art Devlin and our supervisors, and our Essex County supervisor and everybody else.
But Joe, thank you for coming back. You held this position a while back. You've had a lifetime of public service, back to Mario Cuomo and as Head of DEC when I was Lieutenant Governor. And I just want to thank you for saying yes. I thank the Senate for approving your nomination to be the Chair, and we're going to do great things together. And also to have Mike Pratt as our CEO, we bring the top talent. We bring talented people, but people who really truly love everything we're doing here.
And I also am very excited about all of our friends in business because when I first came here - well, not my first trip, but I came here with my official capacity as Lieutenant Governor to try and sell the idea that this should be the home of the next World University Games. And I remember sitting in a room with Betty Little and we had our strategy. We talked about how we're going to get this done, Betty. And I just wanted to say, we weren't going to let them out of the room until they said yes. And we did find out a short time later, and I want to thank you and give you a special round of applause.
Let's have Betty Little stand up. Our Senator. Always a Senator, once a senator. She wanted us to bring it home. So, we did and we'll see you at the opening ceremonies as well, but I do miss your friendship and we did a lot together in your capacity. So we got it done.
And I remember I heard that they had been in Siberia before. You know what, Lake Placid? I think we could be a little more fun than Siberia. We have more bars, and places to gather, and hotels and just a life here. So, I am absolutely absolutely thrilled to be able to announce that we are making progress at this milestone. I also wanted to mention that Ashley Walden, she's our organizing committee, Head of our organizing committee for the 2023 World University Games. And Ashley, you are doing a phenomenal job. These facilities are world class. We know that, but wait until the rest of the world sees us. All these 2,500 athletes, over 100,000 spectators, and families and friends. There's so many great things going on here.
And if anybody gets in need of any North Country medical attention, I've been in your emergency room. Spectacular, as I was talked into, don't ever ask me to - so it was kind of like a triple dog dare you, you know, I can't say no to a triple dog dare. And so I was skiing at the Adirondack Challenge over on White Face and I'm an amateur skier, for sure. But someone said, "If not now, when are you ever going to be able to go down this practice jump for the aerials?" And they said, "It's really easy. All you do is you go up, you drop the skis and you go up in the air and you land." Sure. Sounds good to me. Go up in the air, drop the skis. I missed the bag. You're supposed to land on an airbag - splat over on the side of the airbag. And I just laid there sticking my wrist in the snow because I knew that they were swelling up because they were broken. My ribs were broken, got transported down. This is my first year as Lieutenant Governor, I didn't realize it was so hazardous! But the healthcare was world-class. So, we're all set there. You don't have anything to worry about, nothing to worry about.
But you know, people have always come here. Lake Placid is just synonymous with international competitions and that's why this needed to be here. And we're so proud it's here. In 1932 - we don't need to mention that we know what happened here in '32, and there are still legacy families. Families whose parents might have been skaters or participated in the skiing. So, this is part of our DNA.
1980, one of the world's biggest upsets in sports, the miracle on ice. And I love that phrase. Where was I then? I was a college student at Syracuse University. I worked in the local pizzeria to help pay my way through college. And what was my big job during that? I was the person who used to call out the numbers when the pizzas are ready. So I'm behind the counter, "Pizza number 20, your pizza's ready. Please approach the front desk." I had a chance because I had a microphone when that game was going on. I turned myself into a sports announcer. I gave the play-by-play to everybody listening on my little radio of what was going on with that incredible competition when the U.S. hockey team, just a bunch of amateur guys and an inspiring coach were able to defeat the mighty Soviet Union. So, I've got great memories of everything that happened here as well.
But to have this facility ready. We made the bid, we were here and we all fought so hard to make this happen. So, it's the first time in 30 years that these games are being held in the United States, long overdue. It looks like most of you weren't even born back then. So it's something you could talk about for generations to come, but we've done it before. We've had the Summer Games in Buffalo in 1993. We had the Winter Games here in '72, but now it's time for us to shine again. And I can't wait to cheer on the athletes and all the excitement, but I do have a couple of announcements here today.
We've already invested over $400 million in the past five years to modernize all the ORDA facilities. They are spectacular. I love going up here, coming up here every year and seeing them. But this year's budget, I said, we're not done. We put another $105 million to finish the job to make sure that when the athletes come here, that they leave with this sense that this really was a phenomenal world-class experience. So, we've also supported the revitalizations of some of the other facilities in the North Country, all over the place.
But also, I'm going to be announcing the schedule today. So now spectators, you can get your tickets. The event will run from January 12th to the 22nd. They'll be 12 winter sports and 86 separate events. So you're going to be busy. We're all going to be busy up here. Tickets go on sale September 1st. And if you can't get out to the games, I'm sure you'll love watching what I'm going to announce next is that we've come to an agreement with ESPN to broadcast the games. Come in person if you can, but this is going to be a massive, massive platform to showcase the talents of these athletes all over. I can't wait for that to be happening.
But also, one more thing that's important. What do the medals look like? We get to design them as the host. We finalized the medal design and they're designed by incredible individuals, the faculty and students at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. And they used recycled glass from Potsdam. So, we're recycling, and they had developed a glass insert, a symbol of our state's history of innovative glass technology. So, I'm looking forward to seeing them, are they coming? Here they are. There we go.
And let's see if Mac can give us a hand in showcasing the beautiful medals here. There we go. Thank you. What do you think of that? Is that going to be nice? I think that's going to be great. Let's turn it over. All right. Do you want me to put this on you? Sorry, how about over here? No, I don't think that over here, Mac is not real excited about this, but Mac is going to be very chill when it comes time to showcase these and present these medals. So, there you go. Here you go. How about that? That's very nice. So, thank you, Mac. Thank you for helping us showcase those.
So, lot of great things happening. The countdown has begun. We're really looking forward to just welcoming everybody here and I know you're ready. As I talked about this, I said, we'll have the space. We'll have the workers. We have over a hundred stores and shops. We have a hundred hotels and lodging properties and almost 40 in Lake Placid and Keene alone and restaurants and breweries.
Everybody going to be so busy, so busy. So, I'm excited about that. And also, we'll have a chance to see the economic impact, which is the business community. We want everybody to know that this is going to have a huge ripple effect. When people come up here, spend their money, over $250 million is projected, but I think we're going to do better than that.
And the better thing is I think when the people first experience what they're going to have when they come here. They're going to want to come back. They're going to bring their families back over and over again. So, these will have a huge economic impact. And so, so we're excited. We're in a great position. We're ready to go.
And so, with this, I'd like to welcome our Mayor, Art Devlin, to come up and talk about how this, the community of Lake Placid is ready to embrace the world, embrace the athletes and say, let the games begin.
But also, I do want to leave you with one message. 1980, before they had the big face-off against the Soviet Union, the coach said one thing, Herb Brooks, we all know he's celebrated. What an incredible individual. Great moments are born from great opportunities. And that's exactly what you have in front of us. Let's seize this great moment. Let's put the spotlight on this magnificent part of our country, our state, a huge point of pride for all of us, but particularly me as a governor who has fallen in love with this area over and over again.