Pettit National Ice Center prepares for Olympians - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Pettit National Ice Center prepares for Olympians


WEST ALLIS (WKOW) -- The fastest skaters in the world are just now beginning to peak their training for the Olympics this winter in Vancouver and that means the Pettit National Ice Center is about to become a very busy place.

"All of the off-ice training, biking etc is coming to a head," says Rob Multerer, Director of Operations for the PNIC, "and now they go on the ice and put it all together because people are fighting to be on an Olympic team and represent our country."

The Pettit was built in 1992 and furthered Wisconsin's reputation for producing world class skaters.

"The staggering fact is that since 1932 there's been a skater from Wisconsin on an Olympic team." Says Multerer. "So we're looking at what,80 years now? of history and tradition of Wisconsin skaters. So if that isn't tradition and you know where the hotbed of skating talent is, I don't know what is."

The next layer of skating dominance is about to be applied.

They're just starting to put down the ice on the Olympic oval at the Pettit center and something you might not know about ice: thinner is faster. You want a 1/4 inch ice for a major event like the Olympics. You can get high speeds at higher elevations like Salt Lake City but for the coming Olympics that's not what our skaters want.

The next two Winter Olympics will be held at sea level.

And while the new facility in Salt Lake City is now home to the national team and has the fastest ice on earth, it's elevation is a problem.

That's because athletes need to train like they're going to compete.

"We're still very important and a very big piece of the puzzle," says Multerer, "because we can replicate training and the kind of competition they'll have at the next two Olympics that you can't do that in SLC just by virtue of the atmosphere climate and location."

So, skaters from all over the world will soon converge on the only sea-level Olympic oval in the U.S.

To acclimate to the Olympic experience at a facility that's Positively Wisconsin.

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