NYS Reimagine Rebuild RenewInternational Sports Competition to Be Held in the North Country in January 2023

Empire State Residents Encouraged to Submit Mascot Designs Representing the Spirit of the Winter Games and New Yorkers

11-Day Competition, Held in a Different City Every Two Years, Draws More Than 2,500 Student-Athletes and Coaches Together to compete in Range of Winter Sports

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of a competition seeking design concepts for an official mascot for the Lake Placid 2023 World University Games. The mascot will serve as a highly visible symbol of the Games, which attract a global audience, and will appear in various forms including a live, costumed character; merchandise including toys, stuffed animals, apparel and other souvenirs; and in promotional materials before and during the Games, which are scheduled for January 12-22, 2023. 

"Lake Placid has long been a global symbol of excellence in winter sports, and the World University Games will build upon that legacy while showcasing the state's investments in our winter sports facilities and providing opportunities for local economic development," Governor Cuomo said. "This design competition will engage New Yorkers in a way that not only commemorates the 2023 Games, but also captures the unflagging spirit of this great state."  

Starting today, New Yorkers are encouraged to submit their mascot design concepts that capture the collegial spirit of the international competition and the heart of New Yorkers. The contest is open to New York State residents 18 and older. US residents currently enrolled in New York State colleges and universities are also eligible. More information, including how to submit your design, can be found on the I LOVE NY website here.  

Contest submissions are due by Sunday, April 18. Submissions will be judged based on several factors, including a public voting component. Public voting begins on Wednesday, April 21 and closes on Friday, April 30. Ten finalists will be chosen to advance to a selection committee representing academia, government, tourism and athletics, who will choose the winning design concept. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize that can be used to attend the Lake Placid 2023 World University Games. 

The mascot selection committee includes: 

  • Kelly Cummings, Director of New York State Operations and Infrastructure, and Olympic Regional Development Authority Chair 
  • Eric Gertler, Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate 
  • Dr. James Malatras, SUNY Chancellor 
  • Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, CUNY Chancellor
  • James McKenna, Chair of Adirondack North Country Sports Council, Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO, and North Country Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair 
  • Ashley Walden, Chief Operating Officer of 2023 World University Games Organizing Committee and 2002 Olympic luge athlete 
  • Andrew Weibrecht, Two-time Olympic medalist in alpine skiing and Lake Placid native 
  • Faith West-Gorman, Empire State Development Senior Director of Events 

On March 5, 2018, Governor Cuomo announced Lake Placid was selected by the International University Sports Federation to host the 31st Winter Universiade. The World University Games is an international sports and cultural event staged every two years in a different city. The 11-day competition draws 2,500 student-athletes and coaches for competitions in various disciplines including alpine, freestyle and cross-country skiing, biathlon, speed skating, curling, figure skating, hockey, short track speed skating and snowboarding. The Games will utilize many area sports facilities, including the Olympic venues managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority. 

FISU Secretary General and CEO Eric Saintrond said, "The mascot design contest is one of the first activations leading to the FISU World University Games and represents an important milestone in the buildup of the Games. The first mascot was launched at the occasion of the 1981 Winter Universiade in Jaca, Spain and has since been a cornerstone of each event. The contest allows New Yorkers, regardless of their athletic participation, to be actively involved in the Games and showcase their State globally. The countdown is on and we already look forward to the great creativity of all entrants." 

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "The World University Games will invite student athletes, and visitors from around the world, to explore and experience Lake Placid's world-class venues and rich Olympic heritage. This mascot design competition is a great way for New Yorkers to join in, and to create a lasting symbol of the 2023 Games."   

ORDA President and CEO Michael Pratt said, "The countdown is on as we prepare our venues and the region to host these exciting Games in just under two years. A tour through the Olympic Museum features a variety of memorabilia with Roni the Raccoon from the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, so this new mascot is another opportunity to add to the legacy of the World University Games in a fun and creative way." 

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, "With SUNY's recent resumption of spring sports, we're being reacquainted with the joys of athletic competition. This reinvigoration has so many of us excited for events in the months and years to come—including the 2023 FISU World University Games in Lake Placid. A mascot design competition will give everyone a chance to get involved and share in the experience. I look forward to sorting through some fun and creative submissions."

City University of New York Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "It's a privilege to serve on the mascot selection committee for the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games, which is a fitting representation of the state's determination to push through the current climate and host a world-class competition. The mascot design contest will afford New Yorkers a chance to imbue these Games with the qualities that define New Yorkers' unflappable spirit and drive."

Adirondack North Country Sports Council Chair James McKenna said, "Mascots are an enduring part of international sports competitions, and this contest is an opportunity for New Yorkers to participate in the fun leading up to the 2023 World University Games. We're excited to showcase Lake Placid and the surrounding communities for a global audience, and the mascot will be vital to welcoming visitors from around the world." 

The 2023 Games mark the second time Lake Placid has played host— the first time being in 1972—and the third time New York State has hosted, with Buffalo hosting the summer games in 1993. The Games have never been hosted by another state in the U.S. 

Under Governor Cuomo, New York State has committed nearly $240 million in funding to support the state's Olympic Regional Development Authority properties. These unprecedented investments in capital projects are improving the infrastructure of ORDA facilities to ensure they can continue to attract and support large-scale, global events, while transforming these areas facilities into year-round attractions. This includes a new 30,000 square foot Mt. Van Hoevenberg base lodge, the first-of-its-kind Mt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Coaster, and the Olympic Jumping Complex ziplines and gondola. Additionally, new frost rails with LED lighting have been installed on the 90 and 120-meter ski jumps, ensuring a consistent and reliable jumping surface regardless of changing weather conditions.