Park City speedskaters hold first meet
When the Park City Speedskating Club planned its inaugural meet at the Park City Ice Arena organizers wanted to make it special.
On September 30, when the rink welcomes speedskaters from Park City, Salt Lake and Ogden they will be vying for medals that will be handed out by none other than Olympic speedskating legend, Eric Heiden.
According to David Harris, founder and director of the Park City Speedskating Club, the purpose of the meet is to create interest in the sport in Park City, and what better way to garner a crowd than to have a bit of rink royalty on-hand to help out?
The day will be filled with races in 11 different levels, with three different distances per level. It is 111 meters around the ice track, and Harris estimates that the distances will be 333, 555 and 777 meters. Harris has designed an open class and a novice class to allow for the varying ability between new Park City skaters and long-time Olympic Oval skaters from Salt Lake.
The event will be open to the public to watch and Harris expects some high-level skaters to make an appearance. Although some top speedskaters will be attending the Short Track American Cup national race the same weekend, some junior and adult champions from the Oval may participate.
There will also be an opportunity for spectators to sign up for the next Learn-To-Speedskate session, which will begin on Oct. 1. Applications to join the Park City Speedskating Club will also be available.
Harris says that he hopes that his efforts to form a strong club and hold meets will help the sport to continue to grow in Park City. He envisions speedskating eventually reaching the popularity level of the skiing sports in the area.
"It’s two fold. If you’re going to teach people to speedskate, then the next logical step is to race," Harris said.
The race is sponsored by the Wasatch Speedskating Association, the umbrella organization over the four clubs in Utah. Harris explains that each club hosts at least one meet at their home rink throughout the winter season. All meets are sanctioned by the United States Speedskating Association.
For those interested in shaking hands with Heiden, he will be stationed in the front party room next to the skate rental. Harris says that Heiden has not been a stranger to the Park City rink, bringing his two small children, Zoe and Conner to watch the speedskating classes on Sunday mornings.
The competition will kick off at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30. Heiden may officially start the first race, but Harris has yet to receive confirmation. However, Heiden will definitely be available after 5 p.m. to hand out medals that Harris had created especially for the first-ever event. Club meets usually only award ribbons.
"I wanted it to be a grandiose, memorable ribbon, Harris said.
For more information, contact Harris at 658-4311 or email@example.com.
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