Utah hosts two speed skating events
November is a busy month for short track speed skating in the state of Utah. Salt Lake City will be hosting two world-class events within two weeks of each other: 2014 ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Competition hosted by the Utah Olympic Oval and the inaugural Apolo Ohno Invitational held at EnergySolutions Arena. Both events are made possible through the support of the Utah Sports Commission, US Speedskating, Utah Olympic Oval and other partners.
"We’re thrilled to bring short track back to Utah," said Ted Morris, Executive Director of US Speedskating. "After receiving tremendous support from the Utah community around the 2014 speed skating Olympic trials, we know the fans will come out to see the stars of the 2014 Olympic Games competing at both the Utah Olympic Oval and EnergySolutions Arena events."
In partnership with the International Skating Union (ISU), the Utah Olympic Oval will be hosting the World Cup Short Track Speed Skating competition on Nov. 7, 8 and 9. Race officials anticipate a field of 175 international short track speed skating athletes representing up to 24 countries. Friday will be a day of qualifiers doors open at 8 a.m. with skating from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday are competition days doors open at 2 p.m. with racing from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
There are six World Cup competitions in the 2014-2015 season. The competition at the Utah Olympic Oval is the first of the series followed by stops in Montreal, Canada; Shanghai, China; Seoul, Republic of Korea; Dresden, Germany; and Izmir, Turkey. The last time Utah hosted a short track World Cup event was in 2011. Home to the ‘Fastest Ice on Earth,’ the Olympic Oval has set over 75 world records since 2002.
Tickets for the World Cup are available online at UtahOlympicLegacy.com and in person at the Utah Olympic Oval. Tickets range from $3 to $20 with all-event packages available at 20-percent savings. On Saturday and Sunday, spectators will also be able to participate in a Western-themed community festival featuring family-friendly activities and booths.
Following the World Cup, the most decorated winter Olympian in American history, Apolo Ohno, will host the inaugural Apolo Ohno Invitational on Friday, Nov. 21, at EnergySolutions Arena. Doors will open at 7 p.m. This event is the first-of-its-kind in short track speed skating and will be televised on NBC. The exhibition will feature the sport’s top athletes from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and China competing for prize money in men’s and women’s 500 meters, 1,000 meters and team relays.
The Apolo Ohno Invitational will include a dynamic, in-venue experience complete with theatrical lights and a live DJ pumping music throughout the competition. The night of festivities will kick off with a bonus race featuring some of Utah’s favorite sports mascots.
"Short track speed skating and Salt Lake City are near and dear to my heart, from winning my first Olympic medal to serving as my training home during my Olympic career," said Ohno, three-time Olympian and eight-time Olympic medalist. "I am proud to be an ambassador for speed skating and honored to help showcase the sport in a competitive and entertaining format for the athletes and fans in attendance and at home on television."
The Apolo Ohno Invitational marks the return of Ohno and short track speed skating to EnergySolutions Arena, the venue where Ohno captured the hearts of America and launched his legendary Olympic career with his performance at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games by winning gold in the 1,500m and silver in the 1,000m. Ohno will serve as the event host and color commentator for the event’s television broadcast.
Tickets for the Apolo Ohno Invitational are available for purchase online via Smith’s Tix, in-person at the EnergySolutions Arena box office or by phone at 801-355-SEAT. Standard tickets range in price from $10 to $20; a limited number of VIP tickets are available that include a meet-and-greet with Ohno, food and beverage, as well as a commemorative T-shirt.
Unlike long track speed skating, where athletes compete in pairs, short track features a mass start with up to six skaters and high-paced, high-contact skating action. Both competitions take place on an international-sized ice hockey rink measuring 60 by 30 meters. Both short track events feature family-friendly activities and action-packed athletic showmanship showcasing the sport’s explosive speeds, sharp angles and calculated, yet risky, moves, in mad dashes to the finish line.
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