In Lake Placid, the 33rd annual Empire State Winter Games are officially underway. Thursday night marked the opening ceremonies. Our Barry Wygel takes a look at some of the highlights of the ceremony.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- "I want to welcome the athletes to the Empire State Winter Games," said Randy Preston, the Wilmington town supervisor.
Over 1,000 athletes from New York and the surrounding states will be competing in a variety of sporting events this weekend ranging from figure skating to snowboarding to snow shoe racing.
A number of local officials spoke at the ceremony, including state senator Betty Little, who has a personal connection to the games.
"I had three children who participated in the Empire State Winter Games, and every year when I mention to them that I was here, they tell me something different about when they were here, because it brings back such wonderful memories," said State Senator Betty Little.
All of the athletes who take part in the games dream of one day making it the Olympic games, a feat that was accomplished by Chris Mazdzer, who competed in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
"I hope that you will have what it takes to walk in the opening ceremonies at the Olympics, behind the American flag and realize that at that moment you have made yourself proud like I was able to do," said former Olympian Chris Mazdzer, in a video keynote.
Although the athletes range from 8 to 60, most of them are school-aged, and a constant theme of the opening ceremony was thanking the parents of the athletes, some of whom competed at the games themselves.
"What you are doing with your children here is an investment in our future, our countries future," said Preston.
In addition to the Winter Games, Lake Placid is also hosting the Luge World Cup this weekend, making it the ultimate destination to take in some winter fun.
The 2013 Empire State Winter Games will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday at venues in and around Lake Placid.
For more information about the winter games including a complete schedule of events, please visit empirestatewintergames.com
Watch the full ceremony:
YNN CNY: Empire State Winter Games underway in Lake Placid
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