20 Nov Lake Placid contingent returns from World Union of Olympic Cities Summit
Lake Placid, Adirondacks, USA – Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall and Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism President James McKenna have just returned from World Union of Olympic Cities Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Lausanne Smart Cities and Sport Summit was an opportunity to share information and resources with other Olympic host cities throughout the world, and to help host cities find ways to continue to benefit from their Olympic legacy. This was the first year non-Olympic cities were also invited to join part of the summit. The Lake Placid contingent has been an active participant at the WUOC for seven years.
An area of emphasis at this year’s Summit was that host cities need to use other events to continue their legacy as a sports-focused area, but to be smart about picking only the events that will best drive the local economy while maintaining the city’s desired image.
This year’s summit featured presentations from host cities that included ROOST CEO James McKenna representing Lake Placid, along with a panel that included Gilbert Felli, Senior Olympic Games Advisor for the International Olympic Committee; Simon Cooper, Head of Sport for the Greater London Authority; and Maite Fandos, Deputy Mayor for Quality of Life, Equality & Sports in Barcelona.
McKenna took the opportunity to show the international attendees Lake Placid’s location on the map. Many were surprised about its location within the U.S., and especially its proximity to Montreal. They were also surprised to find out that some of Lake Placid’s biggest events are summer events — like Ironman Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Horse Shows, and the local lacrosse and rugby tournaments — despite the village being known for holding two Olympic Winter Games. That kind of year-round event success is rare among other host cities.
The Summit includes the official annual meeting of the WUOC, which Mayor Randall participated in as a member of the Executive Committee.
“This summit is a tremendous opportunity for Lake Placid to be part of top-end conversations with other host city representatives,” Randall said. “We were able to point out that Lake Placid’s Olympic connections go even further back than 1932 to Charles Jewtraw, who grew up near Lake Placid, winner of the first gold medal at the first Winter Olympics in 1924.”
McKenna used the presentation to emphasize that Lake Placid has been a winter destination since 1905, and that the goal of community leaders has been to establish the destination as a world sports center and resort since the 1920s.
“Overall, the Olympic Winter Games have been a vehicle for developing sport venues and resorts in Lake Placid,” said James McKenna. “Twice in the last 81 years the Games have allowed Lake Placid to achieve the community’s goals to promote a healthy lifestyle, and to establish Lake Placid as a world class sports center and resort.”
“Through these gatherings, we recognize that we have been in a position to use the Olympic Winter Games to the community’s benefit for almost 100 years, and we intend to continue to use it to our advantage for many years in the future,” Randall said. “You can’t judge the impact of hosting the Olympics in just a few years after the event — Lake Placid is a great example that the legacy can impact a community for decades in the future.
The World Union of Olympic Cities is firmly committed to the development of exchanges of experience between cities that have hosted, or are going to host, Olympic Games or other major international sports events.