Saratoga Springs HS Freshman Hugh Dempsey Named To International Children’s Games in Innsbruck this January
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Fourteen-year old Hugh Dempsey has received a big honor – one might say, an honor of Olympic proportions! Hugh, a ninth grade student at Saratoga Springs High School (SSHS), will be part of a team from the Lake Placid/Adirondack region that will venture to Innsbruck, Austria next January, to participate in the 2016 Winter International Children’s Games (ICG).
This will be the first time the Lake Placid area will be sending a team to the games, which draws delegations from as far away as China, South Korea and Australia in addition to several other locales in Europe and North America. Innsbruck will host the seventh winter ICG, which has been held since 1994. Hugh will be a member of the Team Lake Placid’s Alpine Skiing team. This major multi-sport event is designed for children aged 13 to 15 years. Other sports in the games include freestyle and cross-country skiing, and speed skating.
Hugh, who will be joining the SSHS varsity alpine skiing team when it begins it season next month, has been a member of teams from the New York State Educational Foundation (NYSEF) for several years. Hugh was grateful to his Coach, John Norton and other NYSEF coaches who nominated him for the Lake Placid squad last May, and to Lake Placid’s Mayor, Craig Randall, for the vision to start a Lake Placid team.
He and his teammates’ expenses will be fully funded for the trip to Innsbruck, Austria. All travel-related expenses will be paid by the Henry Uihlein II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation; lodging and meals while in Innsbruck will be covered by the Innsbruck 2016 Organizing Committee; and the travel will be arranged by NYSEF.
When he learned that he had been selected, “It didn’t sink in for a couple of days,” Hugh said, “but in addition to being very glad, I felt lucky and honored. It’s really flattering to be chosen for the first Lake Placid team.” It will be Hugh’s first time visiting Austria, but at a relatively young age he is no stranger to travelling. He has already participated in tournaments with NYSEF teams, competing at Mont Tremblant, Quebec for CAN-AM events, and at Copper Mountain, Colorado, where he will be returning next December.
Hugh’s favorite subject in school is global history, which has him excited about the other athletes from all over the globe he will meet in Innsbruck, “I like learning about other cultures and people,” Hugh said. When asked about the challenges of balancing schoolwork while competing in tournaments that might cross several time zones, he said, “I actually did better academically – the NYSEF coaches are very helpful in making sure we keep up with our homework.”
When not skiing, Hugh keeps his condition and stamina strong as a member of the Freshman Soccer team at SSHS, where he mostly plays forward, as well as by mountain biking and running. He keeps his mind sharp by playing Monopoly with his sisters, Norah (12) and Cara (8), and probably both in top form, as well as dexterity, by playing the piano, which he has done since age 6. He credits his parents, Jenn and Steve, for instilling a love for both skiing and music in him at a young age.
In the interests of journalistic research, I requested he give me a go-round across the ivories, and I have to say I was pretty impressed. But not surprised – you come away with the impression that Hugh can pretty much do what he sets his mind to do. And putting journalistic objectivity aside, Hugh Dempsey is just a likable young man who makes it very easy to root for him.
He would like to continue his skiing career in the college ranks and beyond. So, are we going to see him on the Olympic medal stand some day?
“I’m going to take this as far as I can.” Hugh said.