Wrigley Field Rink Hosts Winter Olympic Sport Demonstrations

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By Paul M. Banks

When it comes to Olympic sports, both the city of Chicago and Wrigley Field itself have had the eyes of the world upon them in the past year. Chicago was one of four finalists competing to host the 2016 Summer Olympics before losing out to Rio last October. On New Year’s Day 2009, Wrigley Field hosted one of ice hockey’s premier events, the NHL Winter Classic featuring the hometown Blackhawks versus their hated rival Detroit Red Wings.

On the evening before the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympics, the Chicago Cubs and World Sport Chicago hosted a Winter Olympics kick-off celebration and free community skate at the Rink at Wrigley Field.

The celebration, held at the rink located and Waveland and Sheffield, offered demonstrations of ice sports featured in the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games including: speed skating, figure skating and sled hockey. This was followed by the opportunity to meet U.S. Winter and Summer Olympians and Paralympians.  These interactions gave attendees the chance to learn more about the sports from the experts during the community open skate.

Watch the videos below to see sled hockey and speed skating in action! And listen to the narrations to learn more about the sport:

Speedskating is certainly one of the most popular sports in the Winter Olympics, and as event MC Bruce Connor pointed out, two names to look out for in the short track events during the games are Apolo Anton Ohno and J.R. Selsky. In the long track, Evanston native Shani Davis is the big name to watch for. On display for the Rink at Wrigley crowd were two fo the top juniors in the nation, Melissa Dziadosz and Emery Lehman.

A notable name taking part in the sled hockey demonstration was Patrick Byrne who recently became the first paralympian inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame. His class includes Hawks legends Stan Mikita and Chris Chelios. Joining him were the RIC Blackhawks, a competitive sled hockey team sponsored by Chicago Blackhawks charities.

The figure skating demonstration gave Chicago a chance to see some of the top youth talent in this country. Sara Harris and Jason Brown have earned medals in multiple world championships.

Also, be sure to check out Teamusa.org. Anyone who registers on Teamusa.org will have access to the latest info and will receive exclusive updates throughout the games.

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