FISU Games an Opportunity for Northwood to Give Back

Last month, Lake Placid hosted the FISU Winter World University Games. FISU, the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire or the International University Sports Federation, is responsible for organizing and governance of worldwide sports competitions for student-athletes between the ages of 17 and 25). The Winter World University Games is the largest multi-sport winter event outside the Winter Olympic Games. The games combined high-level competitive sports with educational and cultural events in Lake Placid and nearby towns.

The first World University Games were held in 1923, and the USA had previously hosted the event only twice, the Winter Games in Lake Placid in 1972 and the Summer Games in Buffalo in 1993. The January 2023 Winter World University Games was Lake Placid’s largest winter sports event since the 1980 Winter Olympics. Lake Placid hosted a smaller Winter Goodwill Games in 2000.

The event brought life to Lake Placid. The Lake Placid community was genuinely entertained by the competition in over 85 medal events. Over 1,400 athletes representing more than 50 countries competed, creating an atmosphere of diversity and excitement. Over 11 days, crowds cheered, and Main Street was full of festivity, including fire dancers, ice sculptures, medal ceremonies, concerts, and more. Fifty countries came together as the spirit of the games rang through.

Northwood School was honored to host the FISU athletes, allowing them to utilize our entire campus, including dormitories, dining room, and athletic facilities. The FISU takeover of Northwood’s campus resulted in a later start to the second semester. Instead of Northwood students returning to campus in early January, students returned to school on the 30th of January—an additional month of break. Was it worth it?

Northwood School benefited a lot from the FISU Games, both financially and reputationally, as the school was able to build social capital within the community, thus enhancing its stature throughout the region. Athletes worldwide were impressed with Northwood’s facilities and genuinely amazed by the opportunities and resources Northwood students could access.

Mr. Tom Broderick, Associate Head of School for External Affairs and Director of the Annual Fund, was Northwood’s liaison to the FISU Games. He said closing the campus for the Games was well worth the inconvenience. “Northwood benefited in several different ways,” Broderick said. “We were able to form relationships with athletes and organizations from around the world. We were also able to connect with WPTZ. News Channel 5. We allowed them to use the Innovation Hub for various interviews. WPTZ broadcasted Northwood commercials in its programming, providing publicity across the nation. FISU and Northwood negotiated an accommodating deal that benefited both parties.”

But what about the students? Parents and students were concerned about the month off, particularly given the school fees. After all, this was the first time the school altered its schedule like this since the 1980 Olympics. During the extended break, students had opportunities to experience new things. Northwood offered several LEAP programs, including an expedition to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and a trip to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Athletic programs used this time to participate in off-campus training camps or tournaments.

The soccer team experienced diverse culture in Puerto Rico. “I was so glad we were able to travel to Puerto Rico. I experienced a new culture and got to escape the devastating cold. Lake Placid would have been dull during this time because Main Street would have been closed. There would be nothing to do in Lake Placid, so I am really glad the school allowed the FISU athletes to stay on campus,” said Trey Frantz ’25, a day student on the soccer team.

The extensive student offerings during the January break were affordable or free to students’ families. “The deal covered the costs for the activities and trips we made with the FISU.”

Boderick noted that operating the school as usual during the Games wasn’t an option. “It would have been a logistical nightmare if the students were to stay in Lake Placid. The closure of Main Street would render the Innovation Hub inaccessible, and the FISU athletes would have used the Ice Hockey Rink. The Northwood hockey teams would have had to travel 1 hour to Plattsburgh every day to train, which was not a valid option,” Broderick noted.

Having the FISU athletes stay at Northwood School was crucial to the success of the games, which in turn was essential to the economy of Lake Placid. The New York Government gave $500 million to the town to upgrade its winter sports facilities, in addition to $125 million to upgrade area hotels and infrastructure. This investment in local facilities and infrastructure was critical for the evolution of Lake Placid and, of course, benefits our school.

There is some talk that Lake Placid could collaborate with Montreal or even New York City for the 2030 Winter Olympics, but Japan is the frontrunner at this stage. The town, however, plans to bid for the Youth Winter Olympics.

Hosting the FISU games was indeed worth it. The money was never the motivating factor, but rather the opportunity to give back to a community that has provided Northwood School with so much. It was our duty to give back and contribute to the event as best we could. Northwood is proud to be a part of such a caring, vibrant, and beautiful town and region. The growth of Lake Placid and its people benefits us all. We are proud to help Lake Placid host a successful event and shine on the global stage.


Story Archive

The Mirror was established in 1927
© 2015-2022 by the Staff of The Mirror
The Mirror's Policy Manual and Style Guide.
The Mirror is funded by gifts to the Northwood Fund. Thank you.

%d bloggers like this: