The recent Flaming Leaves Festival with its slate of Olympic athletes and the ensuing Sochi send-off serves as a reminder that the 2014 Winter Games are just around the corner.
Lake Placid and the surrounding Olympic Region resinates with Olympic lore and culture, so this is indeed a special time for the community - and the athletes who live and train here. Some were born and raised here while others have made the Lake Placid area their home. Either way, the Winter Olympics are a cultural mainstay of this region.
The upcoming Sochi Winter Games are only 112 days away (as of Thursday, Oct. 17), and it was great that the state Olympic Regional Development Authority hosted the Sochi send-off, which was an opportunity for locals and visitors to meet winter athletes and wish them well on the road to becoming 2014 Olympians.
Most of our Olympic prospects were in town over the Columbus Day weekend: ski jumpers and nordic combined skiers competed in national championships during the Flaming Leaves Festival and sliding sports such as the U.S. Luge Team conducted team trials at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Local biathletes were out of town, but they will return in November before their World Cup season begins.
Even if you weren't able to attend any of the Olympic-oriented event this past weekend, you can still support your local athletes - and the entire U.S. Olympic Team.
The U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, which opened in November 1982, provides assistance to a number of affiliated Olympic sports organizations and disabled sports organizations. Sports most frequently training in Lake Placid include biathlon, bobsled, figure skating, ice hockey, luge, skiing and speed skating. In addition, boxing, canoe and kayak, judo, rowing, synchronized swimming, taekwondo, team handball, water polo and wrestling Olympic hopefuls also train at the site.
Your donation supports athletes, training centers and performance programs that prepare Team USA for the Games. For more information on how to donate to the Olympic cause, visit www.teamusa.org/Donate.
Of course, you will also be able to follow the efforts of local athletes in the months leading up to, and including, the Sochi Games on the pages of your local newspaper, the Lake Placid News.