Paul Smith's College and local Olympians collaborate to honor, preserve the region's Olympic heritage
PAUL SMITHS, NY (08/14/2018) Paul Smith's College announces the formation of the college's Advisory Committee for Olympic Sports, a select group of men and women with world-class athletic resumes whose experiences as Olympians will help guide the college's Olympic sports initiative.
Joining the committee are:
- Tim Burke, a Paul Smiths native and four-time Olympic biathlete.
- Billy Demong from Vermontville, a Nordic combined gold and silver medalist.
- Andrea Kilbourne-Hill of Saranac Lake, a 2002 women's hockey silver medalist and current director of hockey for PSC.
- Chris Mazdzer, also of Saranac Lake, a silver medal-winning luger who took the podium earlier this year in Pyeongchang.
- Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid, a two-time Olympic medalist in alpine skiing.
The five athletes represent a combined record of 17 Winter Olympic Games appearances and six medal wins.
"I am very excited to be part of a group looking to explore opportunities for our amazing winter sport athletes and an amazing institution at Paul Smith's College." said Demong. "With the venues in Lake Placid and ORDA's commitment to world class events, a natural extension for education and training grounds is Paul Smith's. This is a great chance to serve a multitude of people and help strengthen the Adirondacks' Olympic heritage."
The committee held its inaugural meeting August 10. Also in attendance were community leaders with ties to the region's athletic and educational landscape. The committee members shared anecdotes about the academic challenges faced while pursuing their Olympic goals and how their experiences will be valuable tools. A great emphasis was placed on athlete-first programming.
"I would love to see this part of the world have this type of relationship with a college," said Weibrecht. "We can fully use the venues the way they should be used and not have to choose between your sport and college."
"It is quite an honor to have five local Olympic athletes - legends in their respective sports - more than willing to work together and work on behalf of Paul Smith's College," said PSC Athletic Director Jim Tucker.
The committee will play a role in Paul Smith's new initiative to support high-performance athletes in both competition and academics. An expansion of Nordic facilities at the Paul Smith's College VIC, expanded online coursework opportunities, the addition of new sports such as women's ice hockey, and new academic degree programs such as Sports and Event Management are among the steps underway.
Also key is the college's proximity to Lake Placid and the wealth of training facilities in and around the two-time Olympic host village. In March, Lake Placid was selected to host the 2023 FISU Winter Games, an 11-day event that will bring 3,000 university athletes from 60 countries to the area to compete.
In the several years leading up to the event, and with the help the committee members will provide, Paul Smith's College is well-positioned to become an ideal destination for the next generation of student athletes training to compete at a high level while also earning a college degree.
"With the FISU Winter Games coming in 2023 this is quite exciting, and knowing that we have the support of Tim, Andrea, Andrew, Chris and Billy is incredible," Tucker added.
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 paulsmiths.edu.