Lake Placid officials retrieve FISU flame from Torino, Italy

Lake Placid Mayor Art Devlin waves the 2023 FISU Winter World University Games flag at a flag raising ceremony in Mid’s Park on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. (News photo — Lauren Yates)

LAKE PLACID — A delegation from the Adirondack Sports Council, including village Mayor Art Devlin, traveled to Italy this past weekend to collect a symbolic flame and bring it back to Lake Placid for the opening ceremony of the 2023 FISU Winter World University Games in January.

The flame-lighting ceremony is in Torino, Italy — what’s commonly known as the birthplace of FISU’s World University Games.

“The lighting of the flame at the birthplace of university sport is an exciting moment,” Ashley Walden, Adirondack Sports Council’s executive director, said in a statement Friday, Sept. 16. “Much like an athlete’s journey to Lake Placid, it symbolizes the energy and endurance that it takes to compete at this level.”

The delegation will bring the flame back to the U.S. with an arrival ceremony in New York City on Thursday, Sept. 22, according to a FISU news release, which happens to coincide with the city’s Climate Week. The flame will then make several stops throughout New York state before appearing at the opening ceremony in Lake Placid on Jan. 12.

The lighting ceremony in Italy was a departure from fuel-powered flame lightings in the past. Instead, the flame will be LED-powered. FISU has issued a theme, “Save Winter,” for this year’s Games — an effort to raise awareness about how climate change is changing winter sports and inform people about how they can mitigate actions that contribute to a warming climate.

The 22-inch-long torch was created and built by Adirondack Studios of Argyle, New York — the same company that built the award podiums for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, according to FISU’s release.

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