IOC representative visits Paul Smith’s College in advance of World University Games

Feb 25, 2019 | News

Above, left to right: John F. Morgan, sports initiatives director at Paul Smith’s College; Ivo Ferriani, president of the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and IOC Executive Board member; James Tucker, athletic director at Paul Smith’s College; and James McKenna, CEO, Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism stand on the deck of the Paul Smith’s College Student Center overlooking Lower St. Regis Lake.

Although the World University Games (WUG) are still four years away, regional organizers of that event continue to prepare to welcome the world once again to the Adirondack region of New York.

Ivo Ferriani, president of the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and member of the IOC Executive Board representing winter sports, recently visited Paul Smith’s College at the behest of a Lake Placid contingent.

On a brilliantly sunny day, Ferriani toured the campus, which will host students and competitions in the 2023 Universiade. The Italian sports chief was guided around the campus by Jim Tucker, the college’s athletic director; Jim McKenna, president of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism; and John Morgan, the school’s director of sports initiatives.

“What I see here and in the area is the possibility to combine sport and education,” Ferriani said. “I believe globally we should create training centers of excellence, and the Lake Placid area and Paul Smith’s College would be very good for this. You have everything that’s needed. I was really impressed by the quality and the location of the college.”

To that end, Paul Smith’s College created an Olympic Advisory Council last summer consisting of area Olympians Tim Burke (biathlon), Billy Demong (Nordic combined), Andrea Kilbourne-Hill (hockey), Chris Mazdzer (luge) and Andrew Weibrecht (alpine skiing). All told, they account for six Olympic medals and 16 U.S. Olympic team berths.

The group was formed to discuss strategies for the creation of a collegiate educational program conducive to world class athletes that would allow them to both compete and earn a college degree.

“Our ideas with the advisory council mesh perfectly with the IOC Education Commission,” said Paul Smith’s College President Cathy Dove. “The commission emphasizes an Olympic values education strategy, advocacy for quality physical education, promoting Olympic values, and the importance of blending education and physical activity for youth.”

During the exchange between Ferriani and WUG organizers, the Lake Placid group posed the addition of sliding sports into the 2023 competitions. To date, bobsled, luge and skeleton are not in the program. However, Lake Placid would like to extend these sports into the WUG.

“Ever since our track opened for the 1932 Winter Olympics and then the new facility in 2000, Mount Van Hoevenberg has created a sliding sports legacy worldwide,” said McKenna. “Each year, we host World Cup events in these disciplines, and in 2021, we’ll conduct the World Championships in bobsled and skeleton, so we think it’s natural to want these three new events four years from now.”

About Paul Smith’s College
At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. We are the only four-year institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information, visit



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