Ice Skating Event
Friday, January 27, 2017
Utah Olympic Oval, Kearns Township, Salt Lake County
Watch the U.S. National Speed Skating Team train on the “Fastest Ice on Earth” at the Utah Olympic Oval, home to more than 100 speed skating world records. Meet with 2002 Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, Speed Skater Derek Parra, then lace up some skates and try the ice yourself!
Meet at the World Record Lounge for hot chocolate, coffee, and bagels
Watch the U.S. National Speed Skating Team training session from upper deck or bleachers. Visit with Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, Speed Skater Derek Parra. Derek will share details about his Olympic experience and educate you about the sport of speed skating.
Get fitted for skates
Skate on Olympic ice with Derek Parra and other coaches
About Derek Parra
As an Olympic medalist, world champion and world record holder, Derek is now the director of sports, leader of youth outreach and speed skating coach at the Utah Olympic Oval – the venue where he realized his Olympic dreams. Derek oversees nearly a dozen disciplines at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns and the Utah Olympic Park in Park City with a mission statement to positively engage Utah youth with multi-sports options at America's only Olympic parks for the public.
At 14, Derek began inline skating in his hometown of San Bernardino, CA and by 1996 had become the most decorated athlete in the history of the sport. He had everything but an Olympic medal. So in 1996, Derek switched from inline skates to ice skates to chase after that medal. Just two years later he earned a spot on the 1998 U.S. Olympic Team. In 2001 he won a silver medal at the World Single Distance Championships (1500 meters) setting a new American Record and marking himself as "one to watch" at the 2002 Olympic Games.
At the Salt Lake City Games, Derek did not disappoint! After being selected to carry the World Trade Center flag into the opening ceremonies, Derek gave a remarkable 5000-meter performance on the opening day of the Games where he briefly held the world record en route to a silver medal finish. That set the stage for a stunning world record finish and Olympic gold in the 1500-meter event.
As he trained for the Olympics, Derek famously worked part-time in Home Depot's gardening department in West Valley, Utah. In his book, Reflections in the Ice, Parra recounts pursuing his dream of becoming an inline skater at 17, working at McDonald’s in Tampa, Florida, and at times being so poor he had to search for his meals in the trash.
Derek is the first-ever Mexican American to compete in and medal in the Olympic Winter Games.
About the Utah Olympic Oval
Built in 2001, the Utah Olympic Oval has transformed from a high-performance competition venue to a community recreational resource for Utah residents from all over Salt Lake Valley. Today, the Olympic Oval continues to host world-class speed skating races annually and provides learn-to-programs for aspiring figure skaters, speed skaters, hockey players, curlers and more.
The Utah Olympic Oval facility consists of five acres – roughly the size of four football fields – under a clear-span suspension roof. The facility houses a 400-meter speed skating oval and two international-size ice sheets. Under the ice sheets and track are 33 miles of freeze tubes which keep the concrete base at 18°F year-round. The facility also includes a four-lane 442-meter state-of-the art running track, eight 110-meter sprint lanes, a high-performance weight room and locker facilities, as well as meeting spaces.
The Utah Olympic Oval is part of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and sister venue to Utah Olympic Park. The Legacy Foundation’s primary mission is to manage and maintain world-class Olympic legacy facilities and provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to participate, educate and excel in winter sports.