Welcoming athletes from over 40 cities and 15 countries to the Olympic region, participants will compete in nordic and alpine skiing, snowboarding, speed skating, ice hockey and figure skating.
Although the sports competition sets the tone, the goal of the International Children’s Games is to foster understanding and friendships between student athletes from countries around the world.
In 2016, Team Lake Placid gathered 18 local athletes to compete in the International Children’s Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Those athletes, ages 12-15, competed against 70 international cities in winter disciplines such as speed-skating, alpine, cross-country, and freestyle skiing.
Lake Placid has long been a place that provides Olympic winter sports opportunities for young athletes. My children went ski jumping at grasshopper camps and attempted biathlon during nordic paintball matches. There were luge slider searchers, local hockey matches, and speed skating tryouts. One benefits to all these introductions to Olympic sports are the Olympians who give back to younger generations.
That enthusiasm correlates with the mission of the International Children’s Games, which are more than just competition. The ICG promote cultural understanding at each host city. The brainchild of Slovenian sports instructor Metod Klemenc, ICG was founded on the premise that sports can bring people of different nationalities together.
First held in Slovenia in 1968, nine cities took part in the first summer games. In 1994, the first winter ICG took place. Now Lake Placid holds the honor of being the first United States city to host these friendly and culturally diverse competitive games.
Admission is free and open to the public from the opening ceremony on January 7 at the Herb Brooks Arena (the 1980 Rink) through the closing ceremony January 10th.
Since the contests at Whiteface can not be seen from the base lodge, spectators may ride the lower Bear Lift free of charge. (Free lifts are only available to foot traffic and spectators must walk back down the mountain to the base lodge.)