Inaugural Aurora Games Held This Week, But Will Fans Turn Out?
The inaugural Aurora Games begin this week in Albany, and the "big question ahead of the six-day event" is "how many fans will come out" for the all-female athletic competition, according to Jimmy Vielkind of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The event was "designed to showcase women athletes at the top of their game" in seven sports -- basketball, beach volleyball, figure skating, gymnastics, ice hockey, table tennis and tennis -- at the Times Union Center. Each event is "set up to pit women from North and South America, on 'Team Americas,' against the rest of the world." Times Union Center GM Bob Belber said that ticket sales "started a bit soft, and as of last Wednesday, 4,000 tickets had been issued" for tomorrow's opening night. The lower level of the arena can "hold 6,000 people, and its maximum capacity is 17,000." Belber said that he was "surprised, in light of the #MeToo movement and the recent World Cup win by the U.S. Women’s soccer team, that demand wasn’t higher." He was "hopeful there could be significant walk-up sales." Corporate sponsors include retailer T.J. Maxx and Women’s Health magazine. The games are the "brainchild of Jerry Solomon, a longtime sports promoter and the husband of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan." Solomon: "It was time to create this platform that was just for the women -- to get them out of the shadow of the men" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/19).
TOP ATHLETES SCHEDULED TO COMPETE: In Albany, Pete Dougherty reported more than 100 athletes "from 25 countries and territories will be on hand" for the inaugural event. Among those are Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu, U.S. figure skaters Alysa Liu and Ashley Wagner and the two top beach volleyball teams -- the U.S.' Alix Klineman and April Ross, as well as Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes. The other sports are "sprinkled with Olympians and former college stars." Along with the competitions, a "series of 12 seminars, labeled 'Conversations with Champions,' will take place Tuesday through Friday" at the Albany Capital Center. The venue also will host a fan zone featuring "sports clinics, basketball practices and table tennis competition." Solomon "plans to make this a biennial event, likely at rotating sites" (Albany TIMES-UNION, 8/18).
FINDING A MENTOR: Retired U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn and her eponymous foundation hosted their fourth annual Strong Girls Camp this weekend in N.Y. USA TODAY's Lila Bromberg notes the camp was "focused on increasing confidence in young girls." Vonn "partnered with Chase and the ZGirls organization for the event." Every 11-14 year-old girl participating in the camp is "paired with a female athlete who has played on the collegiate level or higher to mentor them for the weekend." This year, Vonn has "added sessions on financial independence and cyber safety" (USA TODAY, 8/19).