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The Olympic Center in downtown Lake Placid

Lake Placid thinks the Winter Youth Olympic games may be a perfect fit

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Officials in Lake Placid are considering a bid to host the Winter Youth Olympic Games, a smaller scale version of the Olympics featuring world-class teenage athletes. The village's prospects received a high-profile boost just last month when village leaders traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland for a summit with officials from other Olympic cities and the International Olympic Committee.

While the traditional Olympics, like the Winter Games taking place in February in Vancouver, have grown substantially since Lake Placid hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics, local officials say the Youth Olympics may be just the right fit for the community. Chris Knight reports.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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Last month, village Mayor Craig Randall and James McKenna, head of the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau, traveled to Lausanne for a meeting of past and future Olympic host cities. Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympics twice, in 1932 and 1980.

At one point during the summit, IOC President Jacques Rogge sked the Lake Placid officials if they would consider submitting a bid to host the Winter Youth Olympics in 2016. The local officials were caught off guard.

Kim Rielly is the communications director for the Visitor's Bureau:

"They were pleasantly surprised that he brought it up on his own and said 'why don't you bid on the Youth Olympic Games.' They saw that as a very positive indicator."

Randall said he was "inspired by the possibility" and wants to put together "a meeting of the minds" that would include state and local officials, representatives of the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, which runs Lake Placid's Olympic venues, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, which would have to back a potential Lake Placid's bid.

In a curious bit of irony, at the same time as Randall and McKenna were in Lake Placid, USOC officials were in Lake Placid, touring the Olympic venues. USOC communications officer Patrick Sandusky said they were impressed, but downplayed any connection between the visit and a potential Lake Placid bid for the Youth Olympics:

"We don't have any particular comment on Lake Placid and a potential bid, but all I will say is that Lake Placid is a great living legacy of two Olympic Games, the benefits those games can bring to a community, particularly if they continue to be well-managed and funded post the games, as we see with the may great events the city continues to host."

Created in 2007, the Youth Olympic Games are an international, multi-sport event that would take place over nine days and will involve nearly 1,000 athletes.

Rielly said the Youth Games could be a good fit for the community:

"We already have the venues and the best sports venue management team in the world in ORDA. There's a similar number of athletes and coaches associated with the Youth Winter Olympic Games as we hosted in 1980, so it's a smaller version of a contemporary Winter Olympic Games, which fits our destination to a T."

The inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games will be held in Singapore next year, followed by the first-ever Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria in January 2012.

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