For more than 100 years, the New York Olympic Region has been a crucible for breakthroughs in winter sport. Those big wins and milestones, however, are not the sole realm of Olympians. Here, achievements big and small are made by the full scope of athletes because at the Olympic Authority venues, sport for all is our commitment.
Last season, the very first big event at Mt Van Hoevenberg was the IBSF (International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation) Para Bobsleigh World Cup. It came two weeks ahead of the North American Cup Bobsled and Skeleton event, three weeks prior to the World Push Championships, and four weeks before the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Cup. The Olympic Authority is at the forefront for Para sliding sports, blazing the trail for their inclusion in the International Paralympic Winter Sports lineup.
Here in Lake Placid, we understand winter sport can be pursued at any level by any person, and we are committed to access for all. Everyone at every level has their own dreams and their own set of obstacles. At our venues, no one is defined by their disabilities and ALL athletes are respected.
Home to the Lake Placid Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, located directly adjacent to the Olympic Authority headquarters, hundreds of para-athletes have come to train at high levels in a wide range of sports disciplines. They come for the venues, coaching, training facilities, and other resources not available elsewhere.
The Empire State Winter Games, a multi-sport event held annually in Lake Placid, brings hundreds of athletes of all ages and abilities for competitions hosted at Olympic Authority venues. These Games make state-wide competition accessible to all by featuring adaptive-specific sports, including sled hockey and adaptive Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, biathlon, and bobsled. The result is an extraordinary celebration of community, athletes, and winter sport over three days of joyful competition and events, with opening ceremonies, athlete interviews, medals, and much more.
Throughout the winter season, many of the region’s everyday visitors are here for our spectacular skiing and snowboarding, activities that offer a sense of freedom high on the mountain. And that is why all Olympic Authority mountains – Belleayre, Gore, and Whiteface – offer adaptive programs, instructors, and specialized equipment to help people with disabilities discover and delight in the feelings of freedom that come with skiing and snowboarding.
Through these programs, those who are hearing or visually impaired; those who have developmental, intellectual, or physical disabilities; and those with multiple or invisible disabilities have the opportunity to not only enjoy a day on the slopes with people who want to help support them but also enjoy the chance to become skilled skiers and riders. Toward that goal, the Olympic Authority is part of the sustainable drive toward a more accessible world by offering complimentary lift tickets and season passes to anyone with a NY Access Pass.
At the Olympic Center, too, partnerships with local schools and big international competitions, such as the World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships, offer inclusive opportunities to learn to skate and compete. These opportunities represent a unifying force within skating sports to support skaters of all abilities, to advance skating culture, and to provide everyone with ice-time and experiences in these historic facilities.
To further foster diversity in sport, our community also maintains a strong commitment to strengthening smaller nation participation and to keeping a diverse list of nations in future Olympic Games. Mt Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid is the home training ground for the Jamaican Bobsled Team and welcomes other teams who do not have a home track to train on. Likewise, our community always provides a helpful and welcoming environment for Ukraine and other countries with lesser spending budgets. Guided by the Olympic Movement’s vision for a better world, the Olympic Authority works collaboratively to ensure our venues create a sense of belonging for all while developing facilities and programs that that offer exceptional experiences for every athlete and visitor.
For both individuals or teams, the New York Olympic Region is recognized as being open and welcoming to all athletes. A place where everyone can make breakthroughs, needed to achieve their dreams, big or small. Here, the Olympic Authority team and the community alike embrace the ideals of a more diverse and inclusive world and strive to make belonging and accessibility a part of everything we do.