World Cup a Success


The World Cup at the Berry Events Center last weekend “put Marquette on the map as one of the best – if not THE best – places to hold a world-class competition,” according to Andy Gabel, the president of U.S. Speedksating. He said all of the required ingredients came together to make the short-track event a success: effective organization, community-wide support, fast ice, fierce competition, two world records, and boisterous crowds of about 4,000 each day.


Gabel, a former USOEC athlete and Olympic medalist, said he and Jeff Kleinschmidt (USOEC) are already in conversations about the possibility of having future competitions at NMU.

The 2006 World Championships will be held in Minneapolis, so it will be several years after that before the United States is in contention to host another World Championship,” Gabel said. “To give you some perspective, the last time it was in the U.S. was 1992. But there are other events like nationals and the Olympic trials, so those would be possibilities in the near future.


At the same news conference, Kleinschmidt praised Marquette County residents for making a lasting impression on the speedskating community.


“I can’t say enough about the community support,” he added. “It started the moment the skaters arrived at the airport, with posters made by area schoolchildren and flags in the terminal. Some of the team members made a point to find their countries’ posters and sign them. From that, to the skate silhouettes downtown, to residents providing transportation when needed and buying awards banquet tickets for athletes who couldn’t afford them, it has been absolutely wonderful. I’m very proud of how this community came together.”


U.S. skater Allison Baver, a former USOEC athlete who now trains in Colorado, said it was “awesome for the USOEC to be able to host this world event; it’s great for the program and the community.”


Teammate Rusty Smith, a bronze medalist in the 3,000 meters, said the Berry Events Center atmosphere was ideal for the competition.


A 4,000-seat arena where everyone is close to the action works really well. This is a combination of sport and show because people come to see the spectacle of it, too. It makes a big difference, especially at a U.S. host site, to have the seats full and people cheering. It was great.”


International visibility, combined with the local economic impact that rippled through hotels, restaurants and other businesses, added to the value of playing host to the event, said Carol Fulsher, Lake Superior Community Partnership tourism and recreation director.



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Updated: April 23, 2004