Games catapult Lake Placid onto world stage
Having twice hosted the Olympic Winter Games – in 1932 and 1980 – the small upstate New York village of Lake Placid has witnessed first-hand the numerous benefits that can be gained from becoming an Olympic host city.
According to James McKenna, CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, hosting the Winter Games provided Lake Placid with a catalyst to initiate infrastructure improvements.
"Overall, the Olympic Winter Games have represented a vehicle for community redevelopment in Lake Placid," he explains. "In the 1920s, the Games were a mechanism for redevelopment for the 1932 Games – even in a time of national financial depression.”
McKenna also believes that hosting the Winter Games enabled Lake Placid to realise other objectives, such as becoming one of the leading resorts in the world.
“Twice in the last 81 years, the Games have allowed Lake Placid to achieve the community's goals to promote a healthy lifestyle, and to establish Lake Placid as a world-class sports centre and resort,” he explains.
Since the 1980 Olympic Winter Games, Lake Placid has hosted numerous world championships and World Cup events, highlighting the continued positive impact that hosting the Winter Games can have.
Other legacy initiatives have included the construction of the Olympic Training Centre in 1995, a new bob, luge and skeleton track in 2000, improvements at Whiteface Mountain, and a new state-of-the-art Conference Centre.
Each of these facilities has helped improve the economy of the region, with tourism more than doubling since 1980, according to the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.
As the eyes of the world turn to Sochi, McKenna believes that the 2014 Winter Games could present similar opportunities for the Russian resort, adding: “We’d encourage other host cities to utilise the Games in the same way as they have influenced the ongoing vitality of Lake Placid.”