PyeongChang speed skating venue put to the test
Day one of the ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup got underway on 16 December in front of a packed Gangneung Ice Arena. The three-day competition is the first test event for ice sports at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang.
The Ice Arena was officially opened on 14 December, and it didn’t take long before it was gripped by excitement. The men’s and women’s qualifying for the individual and relay races were hotly contested with over 4,500 fans cheering them on.
The ice quality is so good, I already feel like I’m skating at the Olympic Games.Han Tianyu People's Republic of China
“Competing in the ISU World Cup is a great opportunity to familiarise myself with the short track venue for PyeongChang,” said China’s double Olympic medallist Han Tianyu, who is among the many international stars taking part in the event. “The ice quality is so good, I already feel like I’m skating at the Olympic Games. In fact, the facilities are much better than other international event venues I’ve competed in.”
The three-time Olympic medallist Marianne St-Gelais of Canada added: “As we know we’re going to come here again in one year, it’s always exciting to participate in the test event. The ice is pretty nice and it’s close to what we have in Montreal. It’s nice to have the same feeling and comfort.”
Lee Hee-beom, President & CEO of PyeongChang, commented: “It’s wonderful to see such a big and enthusiastic crowd with us at Gangneung Ice Arena today. Speed skating is a very popular sport in the Republic of Korea so it’s great to have so many fans here to experience the new venue and get a taste of what is to come at the Winter Games.
“This three-day event is another chance for our staff to work with the international federations and ensure we are on track to deliver a wonderful experience for the athletes, officials and all the spectators.”