On 24 March, the Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championship was successfully held at the "Adler-Arena" skating center. It was the first time that Russia has hosted the single distances championships since they were inaugurated in 1996. The competition was organized by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, along with the Russian Skating Union and the International Skating Union (ISU).
To assist the 134 athletes from 23 different countries, over 60 judges, 55 sports volunteers and 100 general volunteers were working at the championship. All the necessary services and functions at the venue were tested out by around 150 Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee employees.
The Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championship included a range of competitions which are also on the program for the Sochi Winter Olympics. 12 sets of medals were awarded at the tournament and the timetable of events was packed into four days, which is different from the Winter Olympics, where both male and female athletes compete at only one distance per day.
The championship was competed by both men and women at 500 m, 1,000 m and 1,500 m, by women at 3,000 m, men at 5,000 m, as well as by women at 5,000 m and men at 10,000 m. Athletes also competed in the team pursuit.
The Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championship has been the first international competitive test of the "Adler-Arena" skating center.
All of the venues' systems were put to the test during the championship, including ventilation and air conditioning, which provide the arena with a special micro climate and ensure the comfort of competitors and spectators alike.
17 timekeepers monitored the athletes' results. To mark the first competition, a state-of-the-art timekeeping system with light-sensitive devices, starting blocks and photo-finish cameras taking 2,000 shots per second had been installed in the skating center.
The Organizing Committee has earned high praise for its excellent performance in organizing the competition from the athletes, their coaches, partners, and guests. From the opening competitions through to the medals ceremony, the events were staged with precision to ensure all of those who attended enjoyed an excellent experience.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, the President of the Sochi 2014 Organization Committee noted,
"I'm delighted that the Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championship, was completed so successfully. Everyone seemed very happy with the event: the athletes, organizers, and spectators, and the "Adler-Arena" Skating Center for the Olympics received high praise from both participants and guests of the tournament. The next test event is the World Hockey Youth Championships, which will take place in Sochi at the end of April. Preparing for the Games is a bit like studying for final exams, after passing one event, we must then move on to the next."
Jan Dijkema, the Vice President of the International Skating Union (ISU) said:
"First, I want to congratulate Russia on the impressive results it achieved in the course of the competition. These indicate great promise for the Olympic Games. Next year we can expect to see a huge number of Russian fans in the stands in the "Adler-Arena". Second, this World Championship has shown us that the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee has taken a highly professional approach in its preparations for the Games. I am confident that we will be witness to highly successful Olympic Games. The organizers have done an excellent job here."
Notes to the Editor
"Adler-Arena" is intended for staging speed skating competitions. The ice rink has been specially designed so as to guarantee that the speed skaters can achieve the best possible times.
The height of the building is 24.7 m and length is 274 m, which is exactly the length of three football fields. The total area of the 3 ice tracks at the area is approximately equivalent to 3 hockey pitches.
The building is oval in shape with tinted gray-blue stained glass. Modern concrete technology was used for the construction of the support structures to provide the strength and safety of the building.