Olympic send-off planned in Saranac Lake

SARANAC LAKE – The village is planning a celebration to send off the area’s Olympians.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau announced following Wednesday’s Democratic caucus that a community send-off rally will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, in the Harrietstown Town Hall auditorium. That’s four days before the Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia.

It’s doubtful that any local Olympians will be able to attend, and many of their family members will also have already left for Russia. But community members can still send them a message of encouragement through the send-off.

“We’ve got a band, we’ve got a chorus, we’ve got the parents of these great athletes going to be in attendance,” Rabideau said. “We’ve got a videographer. We want to have everybody there on film so we can send it back to these great athletes and inspire them on to medals.”

Asked which local Olympians the village will celebrate, Rabideau named biathletes Tim Burke and Annelies Cook, nordic combined skier Bill Demong, ski jumper Peter Frenette and luger Chris Mazdzer.

Rabideau also named two Lake Placid Olympians, biathlete Lowell Bailey and alpine skier Andrew Weibrecht, and said their families will be invited.

“What a great evening it will be for Saranac Lake,” the mayor said. “Please come. Please bring your friends. We’re going to pack the halls and rock the house for our Olympic athletes.”

Following the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Saranac Lake Women’s Civic Chamber organized a parade down Broadway and Main Street, followed by a rally at the Harrietstown Town Hall. Most of the local Olympians who had competed in Vancouver were there.

The village of Lake Placid had also hosted a parade down its Main Street, before the Vancouver games ended, for Weibrecht, a week after he won a bronze medal in the men’s super-G race.

Weibrecht will find out this weekend whether he makes the team for the Sochi Olympics. The other athletes named here have clinched spots.

Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.