Sports2022 Winter Olympics


No fans allowed: Parents disappointed about Pettit Center's rule for Olympic speedskating trials

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 09:45:50-05

WEST ALLIS, Wisc. — The road to gold starts in Milwaukee.

The Olympic speedskating trials are underway, however, things this year will be much different than in year’s past.

Monday, U.S. Speedskating announced its Olympic trials will be held without fans in attendance due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Out front of the Pettit Center there are written messages of support from fans all over an SUV.

Inside, athletes won't hear cheers of support from fans who are now forced to watch only on TV, because of the spike in COVID-19 cases.

The surge marked an abrupt call out of an abundance of caution.

"We did it to make sure we can send a healthy team to Beijing and to give those athletes who won't have the opportunity to represent Team USA in Beijing an opportunity to compete,” said Ted Morris, Executive Director of U.S. Speedskating.

In a letter to ticket-holders, Randy Dean, Executive Director of the Pettit Center, said this was the most difficult action he has had to take in his 13 years in the role.

The news is disappointing for parents coming to cheer on athletes in person.

“I planned, but they changed the rule. I understand though, safety for all,” said Hyun Jung Jeon, who traveled 17-hundred miles, to root for her son Issac.

If successful, he'll be among the athletes representing Team USA in Beijing next month.

Over the phone, another parent, Dirk Stolz, whose son Jordan is also competing, says he's disappointed parent's weren't allowed in.

"I'm bummed about that because we came all the way from Seattle. I mean, she can still watch on the TV but, just a little bit disappointed,” Issac Jeon said.

"What's upsetting a lot of people is that there are a lot of people who aren't going to be able to witness their son, daughter, granddaughter at an Olympic trial,” said Dirk Stolz, a parent, over the phone. "There's definitely measures they could've taken when to let skaters be watched."

The trials are set to go through until Sunday for more information, visit here.

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