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Community to welcome Empire State Games

President Lois B. DeFleur listens as then-Gov. George E. Pataki speaks during a Dec. 28 press conference announcing the 2008 Empire State Games will be held in Greater Binghamton.
Binghamton University will again be a central force as the Empire State Games come back to the Binghamton community in summer 2008.

Former Gov. George E. Pataki, in one of his final actions before leaving office, announced on Dec. 28 at the University’s Events Center that the Binghamton community will play host to the 2008 Empire State Games — the first to welcome the games three times within the same decade. Binghamton hosted the games for the first time in 2000, with a repeat performance in 2004.

Pataki noted that the Empire State Games bring incredible talent and the level of competition is high. “We’re not just seeing top-flight athletes in New York at these games,” he said. “By seeing the best in New York, in many cases we’re also seeing the best in the world.”

The 31st celebration of the games will be held July 23-27, 2008, and will bring about 6,000 athletes and 20,000 visitors to the area.

“This is very exciting news for Binghamton University and the community,” President Lois B. DeFleur said. “We’re so proud that the University will play such a central role in these games. We’ll begin our work by appointing our University organizing committee, and we’ll have literally hundreds and hundreds of faculty and staff volunteering to make the games a success.”

Athletes representing six regions from across the state will compete in 28 Olympic-style sports in scholastic, open or masters divisions.

More than half of the competitions will be held on the University campus, with the athletes also staying in Binghamton’s residence halls. Additional venues in Broome County will be used for competitions.

“Hundreds of outstanding local volunteers put in world-class shows when the Empire State Games came to Binghamton in 2000 and 2004,” state Sen. Thomas W. Libous said. “Like having AHL hockey, AA baseball and the PGA Champions Tour here, hosting the state’s top amateur athletic competition again helps put our community on the map.”

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said the games provide “a wonderful opportunity to showcase all that we have to offer, from our beautiful geography to first-rate restaurants, shops and sports facilities throughout our area.”

The games are expected to generate about $10 million for the local economy.

Binghamton is known for raising the bar by hosting successful games in 2000 and 2004. DeFleur said: “We will work together and we intend to raise the bar yet again.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08