As originally conceived, the Aurora Games, scheduled for Aug. 20-25 at Times Union Center, were created to celebrate women athletes in six sports.
That plan was altered when Gordon Kaye, a one-time Saratoga Springs resident and now the managing director of product innovation for the International Table Tennis Federation, saw a Linked In notification from an old acquaintance.
"I'm still connected with Bob Belber," said Kaye, referring to the Times Union Center's general manager. "Bob posted something on his Linked In page on the Aurora Games."
"I knew Gordon as the commissioner of the USA Table Tennis association," Belber said, "but also he was somebody that I oversaw for a time when he was the GM of one of our SMG facilities in Rockford, Ill."
SMG is the group that manages Times Union Center among hundreds of other facilities.
"I emailed Bob," Kaye said, "and I said, 'Bob, table tennis is the third most-popular sport in the world. There are over 300 million people playing. It's a relatively easy sport to set up. It's a sport that a lot of people love to watch. How do I get a hold of this Jerry guy?' "
This "Jerry guy" is Aurora Games creator and executive producer Jerry Solomon.
"We had been approached by several groups that represent sports not included in the Aurora Games," Solomon said. "I explained that in this first year we would not do things which required additional venues.
"Table tennis, however, presented different options, and after doing a straw poll found that there was a lot of interest and excitement about the idea of including table tennis. Gordon was very flexible and willing to create a table tennis exhibition that could fit into our schedule and location parameters."
Billed as a demonstration sport for the Aurora Games, table tennis will be held at...