Cup a Success
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.
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.
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. ”
the same news conference, Kleinschmidt praised Marquette County
residents for making a lasting impression on the speedskating community.
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.”
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.”
Rusty Smith, a bronze medalist in the 3,000 meters, said the Berry
Events Center atmosphere was ideal for the competition.
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.”
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.