The final short track speed skating medals are being contested today in the Iceberg Skating Palace. Yesterday saw the completion of the figure skating competitions on the ice, where the Olympic champion in women's singles figure skating was decided.
As the competition concluded, the athletes thanked the spectators for their support, which they said helped them overcome their pre-competition nerves.
Canadian figure skater Kaitlyn Weaver, who performed in the ice dancing couples competition, said that the crowd’s loud cheers and applause raised her spirits:
"It's electrifying. I was thinking to myself, 'Thank goodness we're doing a happy program', because I couldn't help but smile out there. I was also thinking, 'Do everything right'. We were improvising with each other a little bit out there. Those are the memories we're making here that I'll never forget."
British skater Nicholas Buckland enjoyed much the same experience:
"We wanted to use the energy from the crowd and feed off it. It doesn't matter whether it's for the Russians or you. It's a great energy. It doesn't distract us at all."
Maxim Trankov, Olympic champion in pair figure skating and team competitions, thanked his countrymen for their relentless support from the stands:
"It's an incredible emotion; it's one of our favorite cities in Russia. It's so warm outside and inside because of the emotions. I hope we will skate very well and show our best skating for all the Russian people. It's pressure, but that pressure pushes us."
For the first time, the ice at Iceberg was being used for both figure skating and short track; although in these types of competitions it is best for the athletes to skate on ice of different temperatures, with short track skaters compete on colder ice than that used for figure skating. Nevertheless, careful preparation and management of the ice meant that at the end of training sessions and performances the athletes offered warm praise about the quality of ice at Iceberg.
Japanese speed skater, Ayuko Ito, winner of the silver medal in women’s 3,000m relay in short track, said:
"I like the ice here (the Skating Training Venue). The surface for the actual competition will be softer and it will be important to prepare for the race with that in mind."
Ukrainian short track skater Sofia Vlasova, who made her debut at the Olympic Games, happily remarked:
"The ice is much better than it was last year, practicing here is a pleasure, the ice is great."
For the Italian skater Paul Bonifacio Parkinson, the ice became his second home:
"The ice felt like back home. I felt great for being on this ice for the first time. This was the most fun I ever had at a competition practice. Now that I'm here I enjoy every second on the ice."
The Iceberg Skating Palace is located in the Olympic Park. It is designed for figure skating and short track speed skating competitions, where 12,000 spectators can watch from their stands.
During the construction of the palace, a time capsule was buried at its base, and for the construction of the venue, enough steel was used to build two Eiffel Towers! Above the bowl of the stadium at an altitude of more than 30 meters, a giant dome rises. Its name is associated with the architectural shape of the object, it is international, and sounds the same in Russian, English and German.
During the preparation for the Olympic Games, the figure skating "Grand Prix" final was held on the ice of the Iceberg Skating Palace on December 2012 and the ISU World Cup in Short Track Speed Skating in February 2013, while the Iceberg also hosted the Russian figure skating championship in December 2013.