While the World Cup long track speed skating series wraps up this weekend in Salt Lake City, here's a follow-up to my post a few weeks ago on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics venues. A few world records were set this weekend on Salt Lake City's fast ice--given that Vancouver's oval is at sea level, only a superhuman effort will produce a world record there.
The Richmond Olympic Oval is a gorgeous facility located in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, which is just east of the airport and south of downtown Vancouver. I stayed in Richmond recently, near the oval, the surrounding area was full of strip malls, hotels, office parks, and apartment / condominium and further afield neighborhoods of single-family homes. As a place to stay during the Games, it benefits from its walking distance proximity to the oval as well as a short walk to the Skytrain tram, from which its an easy ride to downtown Vancouver. Not a lot of charm though.
The oval is an amazing facility built for the games at a cost of nearly $200 million with Cannon Design as architect (and Glotman Simpson as structural engineering consultants). The roof is made of local woods, all of which was salvaged from forests that had been plagued with beetle-kill. The facility is a stunner, probably the nicest oval I've been to--maybe only the Viking Ship in Hamar, Norway rivals it for being the most aesthetically pleasing speedskating facility, and at some level you have to simply appreciate each facility in their own right from a design standpoint as each one has its own unique appeal.
After the games, the building will be put to a variety of uses for local sports enthusiasts, but sadly, plans at this point call for the speed skating ice will be mothballed and covered over.
Editor - Jim
This blog weighs in on topics such as long-distance skating, the Illinois canals, cycling, and a variety of related (and occasionally not-so-related) topics. I'd like to correspond with others interested in skating the Hennepin and I&M canals.