The event, which was held from 21-24 March, provided athletes with their first experience of the newly built facility, which will host all the speed skating events during next year’s Winter Games.
Two-time Olympic 1,000m champion Shani Davis, of the USA, was one of those impressed by the venue.
“The ice conditions are the best they could be,” he said, after winning bronze in the men’s 1,000m. “The staff, location and venue are great. It's a beautiful ice arena, which reminds me a lot of Torino [in 2006].”
Netherlands’ Ireen Wüst, who won gold in the 1,500m and 3,000m, as well as silver in 1,000m and 5,000m, also praised the arena, which is situated in Sochi’s Coastal Cluster of venues, alongside the Fisht Olympic Stadium, the Bolshoi Ice Dome, the Shayba Arena, the Ice Cube Curling Centre, and the Iceberg Skating Palace.
“It’s so great to skate on the Olympic track; it’s very beautiful,” said the two-time Olympic gold medallist. “I hope to skate here again next year!”
Other athletes were also pleased to be able to skate at the arena, ahead of next year’s Winter Games, which begin on 7 February 2014.
"I’m very excited to be here in Sochi to get a taste of the Olympic atmosphere before next year,” said American Brittany Bowe, who won bronze in the women's 1,000m. “I have good feelings about the facility and the staff. The ice is at a world-class level and the venue is awesome.”
"I really like how it’s organised here in Sochi,” added Jorrit Bergsma, of the Netherlands, after winning the men's 10,000m. “The arena and ice track are nice and there is a warm atmosphere."
The Ladies’ 1,000m gold medalist Olga Fatkulina from Russia also had some positive comments: "I like the skating rink. It is quite bright and gives you good energy.”
After next year’s Winter Games, the venue will be converted into a trade and exhibition centre, providing a lasting legacy for Sochi.