"These top junior speed skaters hit speeds of 30 mph+. It's one of the most thrilling spectator sports ever." Lovey Russo, Meet Director
Woodbridge, Virginia (PRWEB) November 29, 2012
More than 75 of the top junior short-track skaters, ages 13-19, will vie for a berth on the U.S. Junior World Championship team at the 3-day U.S. Junior National Short-Track Speedskating Championships January 25-27, 2013 at the Prince William Ice Center. The eight U.S. Junior skaters selected will go on to compete in the World Junior Short Track Championships taking place February 22-24 in Warsaw, Poland . The Junior Nationals are an important stepping stone to a possible future Olympic Games selection, in a sport where more U.S. Winter Olympic medals have been won than in any other sport. Many of these talented junior skaters have qualified for an invitation to the US Olympic trials for short track speedskating to be held in September 2013.
The events are expected to draw over 1,000 skaters and families, officials, volunteers from all over the U.S. including hundreds of local spectators from the greater Washington metropolitan region who will be on hand to watch the future of short track speed skating in heart-stopping action. This meet follows the very successful 2012 US Junior National Championships hosted at the Prince William Ice Center in Woodbridge, rebuilt from scratch after a devastating snowstorm in February 2010 destroyed the facility. Bill and Pat Hutzler, co-owners of the facility, are huge supporters of speed skating and have been instrumental in the growth of the sport in the DC metropolitan area. To reach a worldwide audience of speed skating fans, the event will be webcast live in high definition via http://www.shorttrackHD.com, the premier high definition video service exclusively devoted to short track speedskating.
The Virginia/Maryland/DC area is a hotbed for short track speed skating in the U.S., driven in part by the strong local Korean-American community. In world competition, Korean skaters have dominated the sport, but the U.S. team is also regarded as a powerhouse in the sport thanks, in part, to the achievements of Apolo Anton Ohno, J.R. Celski and Katherine Reutter. There are five short-track clubs in the area, and all but one have Korean or Korean-American coaches. Under the leadership of Meet Director Lovey Russo from the Connecticut Speedskating Club, four local clubs: Potomac, iShortTrack, Washington and Dominion Speedskating, will be hosting and organizing the event. Admission to the event will be free of charge. For more information visit http://www.pwice.com or contact the Prince William Ice Center.
The greater DC area also boasts a number of favorites to make this year’s Junior World team, including 2012 team member Sally Chea from Richmond. US National Category 1 skater Lexi Burkholder from Pittsburgh who trains occasionally with the Potomac team is hoping to make her second Junior World team; she missed last year’s team due to injury. April Shin, the 2012 US Juvenile Women’s silver medalist from Rockville, MD, is another promising talent from this area. For the men’s team, the field is wide open but a number of local skaters have Junior World aspirations including the 2012 Youth Olympic Games and multiple US national championship title holder Thomas Hong of Laurel, MD, and AmCup skaters Shaner LeBauer and Jeong Su Ha from Potomac, TJ Vongkovit from Bethesda, and Jae Kun Yoo from Burke, Virginia. All of these competitors have raced and trained at the Prince William Ice Center, which is certainly an advantage coming into these Junior National Championships.
About US Speedskating
US Speedskating, headquartered at the Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, is a non-profit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union as the governing body for the sport of speedskating in the United States. Its mission is to be one of the premier speedskating organizations in the world through excellence in leadership, development and performance. To date, US Speedskating has won 85 Olympic medals, making it the most successful winter sport in the U.S. In addition to its elite programs, US Speedskating is responsible for the grassroots development of speedskating. For more information, follow US Speedskating on Facebook, Twitter and visit http://www.usspeedskating.org.