“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”
– Mike Singletary
The Empire State Games are a group of annual, Olympic-style competitions that allow amateur athletes from New York State to compete in several different divisions. The games consist of several different competitions including: Summer Games, Winter Games, Games for the Physically Challenged, and the Senior Games. With a multitude of competitions, divisions and age groups, the Empire State Games are virtually open to all amateur athletes.
Due to a lack of funding in New York State, the 2011 Games were cancelled. The Empire State Sports Council has been working diligently for nine months on everything from sponsorship to scheduling logistics to get the games back for 2012. With your support, the Sports Council can bring this great competition back to New York State.
The Empire State Games was a recognized State Games Program of the United States Olympic Committee and was patterned after the Olympic Program. All amateur athletes must be a resident of the State of New York, and must qualify for the games at Regional Trials. Athletes represent six regions of New York: Hudson Valley, Long Island, New York City, Adirondack, Central and Western. About 6,000 people qualify to compete at the finals competition.
Interview With President Ken Rechnitzer
Ken Rechnitzer, President of the Empire State Sports Council, is trying to bring back the games this year. I asked Ken a few questions about the Games:
Are you planning on bringing back both the Summer and Winter Games?
The Winter Games are already under control of an organization in Lake Placid, which put them on in 2011. As for the Summer Games, YES. The Empire State Sports Council will be working to bring them back with a new name, and a bit of a new look.
Where does the funding for this project come from?
The Sports Council will be working with the Private Sector, as well as relying on Patron and Business Donations in order to provide the majority of the funding for the New State Games.
Will athletes qualify for these events?
The ideal set up is to offer Regional Qualifiers in order for the participants to move onto the State Championships, but that will require active participation from volunteers in each region, and an increase in current donations and funding to allow for that in 2012.
It looks like quite a few world famous athletes have come through the Games: Ron Artest, Chris Mullen, Wally Szczerbiak, Mike Tyson, etc. Do you expect ‘top tier’ athletes to return?
There is still a very large number of logistics to work out, and the invitation to top tier athletes is always open.
We would like to have a number of such athletes provide their support and assistance in bringing back the games. Nonetheless, the new model for the games will be initially geared toward participation among all Grass Roots athletes with a finale that will showcase the top tier athletes in each sport.
The Empire State Sports Council currently has a landing page at www.ESSportsCouncil.org which
will provide some information on the Sports Council. The website also offers a chance for each visitor to help choose the new name for the State Games, as well as make a donation. Each donation at this stage is critical and will allow the development and growth of the new State Games.
This is super exciting, to have Olympic style Games coming back to New York State. Please, if at all possible, make a donation to the Sports Council and give these athletes an opportunity to play.