Winter sports of all kinds are taking place in Lake Placid this weekend when the 2011 Empire State Games kick off on Friday February 25th, giving New York State athletes the opportunity to compete in their winter sports. The Olympic Style Opening Ceremonies, in which the athletes march into the arena with their respective sport teams, will be on Friday at 6 pm in the Olympic Center 1980 Herb Brooks arena.
The fun continues on Saturday February 26th with a Festival of the Games at 4 pm. The band Barefoot Truth will be performing starting at 5 pm, and the parade of athletes at the toboggan run will commence at 6 pm. The parade will be followed by more music by Barefoot Truth and fireworks. This event will take place on the Lake Placid Public Beach. The Empire State Games are a great opportunity for spectators to watch amateur athletes compete in winter sports including alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsled, cross country skiing, figure skating, luge, skeleton, ski jumping, ski orienteering, snowshoe racing, short track speed skating, women’s ice hockey, and skier/boarder cross. For more information, visit the Empire State Games website at www.empirestatewintergames.com.
Also happening this weekend, the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club will be hosting their last long track speed skating race of the season, the Jack Shea Sprints. Named after Lake Placid Native and Olympic Gold medalist Jack Shea, the race consists of a 500 meter (1 lap and a straightaway) and 1000 meter (2 and a half laps) on Saturday and the same distances on Sunday. Skated on the 400 meter Olympic Oval, this is a great race for spectators because the distances are shorter “sprint distance” races and can provide an idea of what Olympic style racing is like. Although not included in the Empire State Games this year, the Lake Placid Speed Skating club hopes to have long track speed skating included in the Games next year. For more information on the race, visit the registration site at www.lakeplacidoval.com.
Christie Sausa is a figure skater and speed skater writing about winter sports from Lake Placid, NY. Her internationally recognized blog Lake Placid Skater is a leading source of competitive Lake Placid ice skating news and information.