Crews at the Pettit National Ice Center are preparing the venue to host its first speed skating Olympic trials in 20 years.
The Pettit Center has undergone a number of updates and renovations over the past year to be able to host the event.
“New lighting, the heating system, refrigeration system, but it reads a fevered pitch here starting today with moving boards and pads and those things but we’ve got a lot of help,” said Pettit National Ice Center Executive Director Randy Dean.
With just five days until the trials, workers are busy making sure everything is in order to host more than 1200 fans a night. The last time the Pettit Center hosted the event was in 1998. Long-track Olympic speed skating trials are normally held in Utah, but the conditions in the Milwaukee area made it a perfect fit to replicate what skaters will find at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“We are at sea level and that’s where Pyeongchang, the venue there for the games is going to be at sea level,” said Dean.
Starting on Tuesday, Jan. 2, fans will enter the facility from an outdoor tent leading them to the indoor bleachers where they will get their first look at around 20 soon-to-be Olympians.
“About ten on each side, men and women will qualify for the games so we’re excited about that so hopefully we can launch them onto the podium,” said Dean.
Tickets for Friday and Saturday night sessions are already sold out, but Dean said there’s still plenty of tickets for the other four nights. General admission is $15.