Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

July 21, 2010

Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe

New York’s 2010 Governor Hugh L. Carey Empire State Games Kick Off in Buffalo

The 32nd Governor Hugh L. Carey Empire State Games, presented by First Niagara Financial Group, will kick off in Buffalo this week, bringing nearly 6,000 athletes to Western New York to compete in a wide variety of amateur sports. Opening ceremonies take place Wednesday, July 21, with competition to follow July 22 through July 25.

"The athletes competing in the Empire State Games truly exemplify the spirit of the great state of New York – disciplined, hard-working and competitive," Governor David A. Paterson said. "I am certain the athletes' winning attitudes will serve them well not only as the take the field, but as they become the leaders of our communities. I am grateful to the generous support from New York's businesses and individuals, led by presenting sponsor First Niagara Financial Group, that's helped give our athletes such a great stage to showcase their abilities."

"The Empire State Games is a wonderful opportunity to bring healthy and exciting athletic competition – and thousands of athletes and fans – to the great city of Buffalo. I wish the athletes the best of luck, and hope both the athletes and fans enjoy their time in Western New York," said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, whose office oversees the program. "I also wish to express my gratitude to our sponsors and hosts, whose support is essential to making the Games possible."

First Niagara Financial Group donated $500,000 to help bring back the Summer Games after they were suspended in 2009 due to the state's fiscal crisis. A coalition of other businesses and individuals raised an additional $600,000 to support the competition and opening ceremonies.

In addition to 6,000 athletes, the event normally attracts over 20,000 visitors to the area and generates an economic impact of approximately $12 million for the local area. The Games will take place primarily at the University of Buffalo, Erie County Community College, Niagara University, and Canisius College, as well various other venues in the region. This year marks the fifth time the Games have been held in Buffalo.

Athletes compete over a four-day period in 27 different Olympic-style sporting events in Scholastic, Open or Masters divisions. Events for the summer games will include basketball, tennis, boxing, volleyball, softball, baseball, ice hockey, diving, swimming, synchronized swimming, weight lifting, gymnastics, track and field, soccer, cycling, canoe, kayak, lacrosse, judo, archery, wrestling, bowling, field hockey, fencing, shooting and rowing.

Through the years, many athletes have been part of the Games and moved on to national, international and Olympic competition. Games' alumni include world champions, Olympic gold medalists, college and high school All-Americans, professional athletes in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL, as well as figure skaters, skiers, soccer players and many more. Nearly two-dozen former Games' athletes, along with dozens of Games' coaches and officials participated at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.

Since its establishment in 1978, the Summer Games have expanded to become one of the largest amateur state-sponsored athletic programs in the nation. Currently, the Empire State Games, which are nationally recognized by the United States Olympic Committee, the State Games of America and the National Congress of State Games, have developed to include events for both the summer and the winter, as well as for seniors and the physically challenged.

The 2011 Empire State Games are scheduled to be held in Rochester.

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