Fr om March 18 to 24, the Adler Arena Speed skating Center in Sochi will host the Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships. The event will be staged by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee in cooperation with the Russian Skating Union (RSU) and the International Skating Union (ISU). This is the first time Russia has received the honor of staging this event since the establishment of the World Single Distances Championships in 1996, and these World Championship will be the first international Test Event for speed skating Olympic venue. The World Championships program is identical to the competition program for skaters at the Olympic Winter Games. Held over four days, 134 athletes fr om 23 countries will compete for 12 sets of medals.
More than 60 judges and over 150 volunteers will also come to the event along with 150 employees of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee who will test all of the services at the venue.
23 countries are represented at the World Championships: Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Canada, China, Kazakhstan, Latvia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Poland, Russia, USA, Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Japan.
Russian athletes among the favorites in this competition are Olympic medalist fr om the Vancouver Olympics, Ivan Skobrev, Dmitry Lobkov, Denis Yuskov, Olga Fatkulina, Ekaterina Shikhova and Ekaterina Lobysheva.
This season, under the supervision of coaches Konstantin Poltavets and Maurizio Marchetto, the Russian team has achieved strong results. At the recent ISU World All-round Speed Skating Championships in Hamar, Ekaterina Shikhova earned Russia its first medal in 30 years in the women's competition.
Well-known foreign athletes who will participate in the championships are Sven Kramer and Ireen Wust fr om the Netherlands, Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic, Havard Bokko from Norway, and Shani Davis of the United States. All of them are multiple champions, winners at the Olympic Games in 2006 and 2010, and annual world championships.
The Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships feature all of the competition events that will be contained in the program for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. 12 sets of medals will be contested at the event, however the competition schedule has been compressed into four days, wh ereas at the Games there will be one distance for the athletes to take part in per day – for men or for ladies.
The competition includes 500, 1,000 and 1,500 meters rounds for both men and ladies, 3,000 meters for ladies and 5,000 meters for men wh ere a maximum of 24 skaters will compete, and the 5,000 meters for ladies and 10,000 meters for men, wh ere only 16 athletes will take part. There will also be two team pursuits for men and ladies wh ere the eight best teams will compete.
In the individual competition disciplines all the speed skaters start in pairs, each in their own lane, and alternate on each lap in the distance on the crossing straight. The only team discipline is the pursuit in which just the eight strongest national teams take part. The teams compete in groups consisting of three speed skaters, and these three can take turns to lead the group - however, the result is determined when third-placed athlete crosses the finishing line. There are no changes of lane in the team pursuit races, and the start takes place on the two straights of the ice rink, located opposite one another.
The pairs for each race and the order in which they start, for each distance, including the team pursuit, are determined by a special draw. The winner is the skater (or team) with the best time at the finish, regardless of which race they skated in. The winner in the 500 meter race is determined based on the best aggregate time over the two races (each skater starts one race on the inner lane and another one on the outer lane).
The Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Sochi are also the official Test Event designed to test the Olympic venue before the Games. This will be a full test not only for athletes, but also for the venue and all the services involved in the process.
It is expected that a total of seven to eight thousand spectators will attend the competition over four days.
The President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, noted:
“Adler Arena will host its first international tournament - the Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships. The ice used in speed-skating must be of the highest quality, higher than that needed for other kinds of ice events. During the World Championships in Sochi, it is going to be tested by the world's leading speed skaters, and for that reason all of the preparatory work was carried out in accordance with the strictest requirements. I have no doubt that this venue in the very heart of the Olympic Park is going to be a worthy site for some breathtaking performances and spectacular triumphs. We are making every effort to ensure that the Championships are a tremendous success and that the skaters and fans will go home with memories to last a lifetime”.
Notes to the Editor
Adler Arena Speed skating Center is intended for the staging of 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.