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Celebrating World Cup Speedskating in Marquette, Michigan

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

CELEBRATING WORLD CUP SPEEDSKATING IN MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN

Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I call attention to a wonderful sporting event that will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the city of Marquette in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

On those days the United States Olympic Education Center will host World Cup speedskating at the Berry Events Center at Northern Michigan University.

I am sure you recall how short track speedskating suddenly became the sport of the hour during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, as we all cheered on the American speedskating phenomenon Apolo Ohno. The excitement of this high-speed sport, where a slip and a fall always seems to be just a step away, became one of the most-talked about events of the games.

When the Olympic games were finished and Apolo left with his medals, I am afraid that for most viewers speedskating slipped back into the sports shadows. It was not likely to be a sport that would bump football, golf or NASCAR from the prime Sunday afternoon viewing slot.

Despite this media eclipse, however, speedskating remains as riveting as it was during the Olympics. Highly-trained athletes still challenge both gravity and centrifugal force on the razor edge of their skates. Strategists on the track still plot their pace, waiting for the right moment to begin a sprint or challenge for the lead. And 150 of the world's best speedskaters from more than 25 countries will thrill crowds of northern Michigan residents who know their winter sports, from dog-sledding to ski-jumping.

The event also promises an economic boost to an area that has been sustained many economic blows, and it will showcase Marquette, MI, an All-American community.

I have long supported the United States Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University, and I praise them for their successful effort in matching this world-class event to an area that I have always considered world-class in its natural beauty—Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

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