Utah Olympic Oval to host US speed skating Sochi 2014 Olympic trials
Saturday, 16 February 2013
February 16 - The Utah Olympic Oval, host venue of the speed skating events at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Games, will play home to the United States speed skating Sochi 2014 Olympic trials between December 2013 and January 2014.
The indoor venue in Kearns will see as many as 12 short-track skaters and 20 long-track skaters selected for the American Winter Olympic team, ahead of the Sochi Games, which are due to run from February 7 to 23 next year.
Double Olympic medal winning short track speed skater J R Celski, who has made clear his ambitions to compete at Sochi 2014, welcomed the news.
"I'm very happy that the Olympic trials will be at the Utah Olympic Oval," said the 22-year-old, who won bronze in both the 1,500 metres and 5,000m relay at Vancouver 2010.
"This is where most of the short and long track athletes in the USA train throughout the season, so the 'home' factor definitely comes into play.
"It definitely will be a fun and exciting event on the road to Sochi."
The speed skating oval, which was built for the 2002 Winter Games, features a 400m skating track surrounding two international sized ice sheets, and is itself surrounded by a 442m running track.
Ten Olympic and nine world records were set at the venue during the Salt Lake City Olympics - the largest number of world records ever set at one event - and it temporarily held the title of "fastest ice on earth" following the Games.
"Having hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, we know fans in Utah will come out to support our athletes as they vie for a spot on the 2014 US Olympic Team," US Speedskating's executive director, Mark Greenwald, said.
The trials will be televised on the NBC family of networks, with the long track trials taking place from December 27 to January 1 and the short track following on January 2 until 5.