Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

February 10, 2010

Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe
518-486-1868

Twenty-four Empire State Games Alumni to Compete in 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

Empire State Games a great training ground for world-class athletes

New York's best amateur athletes put skills on display for 30th competition in Lake Placid

As 24 Empire State Games alumni pursue Olympic stardom in Vancouver, the next generation of New York's premier winter athletes are preparing for the 30th Empire State Winter Games in Lake Placid on February 19 to 21.

"If you want a close-up look at the kind of skill, commitment and winning attitude it takes to compete in the Olympics, look no further than the Empire State Winter Games in Lake Placid," said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which oversees the Empire State Games. "With 24 alumni competing in Vancouver, the Empire State Winter Games has a remarkable track record of producing Olympic-caliber athletes."

"We take a tremendous amount of pride in saying that many of these athletes got their competitive start right here in Lake Placid on our Olympic venues," remarked Ted Blazer, CEO/President of the Olympic Regional Development Authority. "To see so many athletes who once competed in the Empire State Games go on and compete in the Olympics is a testament to the quality of competition and dedication on the part of each and everyone one of them and their family."

"With the support of coaches and trainers, friends and family, New York produces some of the best athletes in the world. I'm proud of the Empire State Games alumni competing in Vancouver, as I am of all athletes who participate in the Empire State Games," said Fred Smith, Director of the Empire State Games.

Empire State Games alumni on the 2010 USA Winter Olympic Team include 16 New York State residents, along with eight others who lived in or trained in New York when they participated in the state competition. Empire State alumni make up 70 percent of the entire USA luge team and more than 17 percent of the men's hockey team.

In addition, two alumni of the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged, Brad Emmerson from Amherst and Adam Page from Lancaster, are competing in the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Sled HockeyThe Winter Games have been held in New York's capital of winter sports every year since they began in 1981. The Games are administered by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, with support from the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

This year, more than 1200 athletes from across the state will compete in 12 Olympic-style winter sports – cross-country skiing, ski jumping, biathlon, ski orienteering, skier and snowboard cross, snowshoe racing, bobsled, luge, skeleton, speedskating, figure skating, and women's ice hockey. Two-dozen athletes from the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged will also be in Lake Placid competing in adapted skiing at Whiteface Mountain. Athletes will be using many of the same venues used in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

For more information and a schedule of events, go to - www.empirestategames.org

New York State Empire State Games Alumni:

Haley Johnson - Biathlon - Lake Placid

Lowell Bailey - Biathlon - Lake Placid

Tim Burke - Biathlon - Paul Smiths

John Napier - Bobsled - Lake Placid

Dustin Brown - Ice Hockey* - Ithaca

Patrick Kane - Ice Hockey - Buffalo

Mike Komisarek - Ice Hockey - West Islip

Brooks Orpik - Ice Hockey - Amherst

Erin Hamlin - Luge - Remsen

Dan Joye - Luge - Carmel

Chris Mazdzer - Luge - Saranac Lake

John Daly - Skeleton - Smithtown

Andrew Weibrecht - Alpine Skiing - Lake Placid

Billy Demong - Nordic Combined - Vermontville

Peter Frenette - Ski Jumping - Saranac Lake

Trevor Marsicano - Speedskating - Ballston Spa

Out-of-state Empire State Games alumni:

Julia Clukey - Luge - Maine

Megan Sweeney - Luge - Connecticut

Tony Benshoof - Luge - Minnesota

Mark Grimmette - Luge - Michigan

Zach Lund - Skeleton - Utah

Todd Lodwick - Nordic Combined - Colorado

Johnny Spillane - Nordic Combined - Colorado

Nick Alexander - Ski Jumping - New Hampshire

*The men's ice hockey competition takes place at the Empire State Summer Games.