1) U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM TRIALS FOR LONG TRACK SPEEDSKATING RETURN TO MILWAUKEE AFTER TWO DECADES:
From Tuesday to Sunday, dozens of Olympic hopefuls will compete at the Pettit Center for the Long Track Speedskating Trails.
The last time they were held in Milwaukee was in 1998. The Utah Olympic Oval opened in 2001 for the 2002 Olympic games. Since then, a majority of the speedskating Olympic trials have been held in Salt Lake City for the high elevation.
However, the Pettit Center has still has held other high level speedskating events throughout the years. Every year, the facility holds national or sometimes International competitions. In October 2009, The Pettit held an event that was basically the Olympic Trials, but without the official title.
2) WHY THE RETURN TO MILWAUKEE?
The U.S. Speedskating committee decided to bring the trials back to the Pettit Center because it’s relatively the same altitude as the Gangneung Oval in South Korea.
Four years ago, the U.S. team had trained too long at a higher altitude despite the Olympics being held near sea level in Sochi, Russia.
As a result of that and other factors, the Americans failed to earn a medal for the first time since 1984, a stunning outcome for the most successful U.S. Olympic winter sport.
3) HOW MANY ATHLETES WILL MOVE ON TO THE GAMES?
Team USA has qualified spots for up to eight men and eight women who can fill 24 racing positions in long track speedskating. However, if an athlete makes spots in multiple distances, the U.S. team will take less than 16 skaters to PyeongChang.
Here are a list of notable athletes to watch this week:
- Heather Bergsma
- KC Boutiette
- Brittany Bowe
- Blair Cruikshank
- Shani Davis
- Joey Mantia
- Mitchell Whitmore
4) WHERE TO WATCH:
There are still tickets available to watch the competition at the Pettit Center -- however some days are completely sold out. For ticket information, click here.
Listed below is the schedule of events:
- Tuesday, January 2 – Women 3000m/Men 5000m
- Races 3:20p to 6:00pm, TV Live: 5:00p-6:00p on NBC Sports Network
- Wednesday, January 3 – Men & Women 1000m
- Races 4:45p to 6:30pm, TV Live: 5:00p-6:30p on NBC Sports Network
- Thursday, January 4 – Women 5000m/Men 10000m
- Races 4:55p to 7:30pm, TV Live: 5:30p-7:30p on NBC Sports Network
- Friday, January 5 – Men & Women 500m
- Races 3:20p to 7:00pm, TV Live: 5:30p-7p on NBC Sports Network
- Saturday, January 6 – Men & Women 1500m
- Races 5:05p to 6:50pm, TV Live: 5pm-7p on NBC Sports Network
- Sunday, January 7 – Women & Men Mass Start
- Races 4:55p to 5:30pm, TV Live: 5pm-5:30p on NBC Sports Network