Empire State Winter Games set record

Over 1,000 compete

Two-time Olympian Patrick Kelly of Lake Placid won three golds in the speed skating events.

Two-time Olympian Patrick Kelly of Lake Placid won three golds in the speed skating events. Alan Belford

— Over 1,000 athletes made their way to Lake Placid, Wilmington and Saranac Lake to compete in the Empire State Winter Games in early February.

“The athletes had a games this year that was really put on by the local communities and tuned to meet the needs of the athletes,” Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall said. “This year, it was more our games than any other.”

Members of the organizing committee and others gathered for a wrap-up event Feb. 22 in Lake Placid, where they announced that over 1,000 athletes were part of this year’s games.

A total of 1,045 athletes registered to compete in the 2012 games, well surpassing the 2011 mark of 858.

“It was actually more than what we had hoped for when it came to an increase,” Randall said.

“We wanted to make them more of an Olympic-style event then a weekend event,” James McKenna, head of the ESWG organizing committee, said. “It all speaks to our tradition and the pride that we have in what we do here in the Adirondacks.”

The games were held for the first time in conjunction with the opening weekend of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, and those at the event said it was a positive experience.

“It increased the numbers in the village and it fit very well into the program,” Charlie Martin, Mount Pisgah manager, said. The mountain was the site of ESWG events for the first time in 2012.

“We had the biggest numbers for the first weekend that I have seen in years,” Harrietstown councilwoman Nichole Meyette said. “There were bigger crowds at all the events, and it was quite noticeable.”

McKenna said that there was the opportunity for even more expansion in 2013, when the games will be held Jan. 31 through Feb. 1.

“We have already been having discussions with Paul Maroun in Tupper Lake about the possibility of having events there,” McKenna said. “This is something that serves as a vehicle for the regional communities to get together on.”

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