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Team USA Olympic speedskating trials underway at Pettit National Ice Center

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 08:21:42-05

The Team USA Olympic speedskating trials are now underway at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee for the first time since 1998.

Seventy-one athletes will compete for 16 spots on the U.S. Olympic speedskating team. 

"For some it's their first time. Others are coming back after being on the team in 2014. There is a wide range of ages and skill level, but all strive to be on the Olympic team," said Pettit Executive Director Randy Dean.

The speedskating trials are normally held in Utah, but the conditions right now in Milwaukee made it a perfect fit to bring the event back to Wisconsin.

"The characteristics here as far as being at sea level and the heavier air, those type of things athletes have to deal with," Dean said.

"They don't have to deal with that in Salt Lake. Salt Lake has a lot of world records. The city has thin air and faster ice, but that's not what the athletes are going to face in Korea," Dean also said.

The Pettit Center has undergone a makeover over the past year to get ready to host the event. 

Tickets are still available for Tuesday afternoon's competition.