Speedskating, Gymnastics Showcasing Olympic Sports in Champaign County
Champaign County will get its own taste of the Olympics this weekend. The 2018 Land of Lincoln Short Track Speedskating Championships will take place at the University of Illinois Ice Arena. Meanwhile, hundreds of gymnasts will compete across town at Champaign Park District’s Leonhard Center, both happening Saturday, February 24–Sunday, February 25.
“Over the years, our club has generated 13 Olympians in short- and long-track, most recently Katherine Reutter (short-track) and Jonathan Kuck (long-track),” explains Lynda Lopez, Land of Lincoln Meet Director. “We’re proud to host the largest meet in the Midwest, drawing the largest number of skaters from a vast area.”
Champaign has a long history with speedskating, hosting the first World Short Track Competition in 1976. The University of Illinois Ice Arena is the widest rink in the US an can put nine skaters on the line, vs. six skaters that you see in the Olympics. The Land of Lincoln competition is the premier downstate speedskating event, hosting over 120 competitors across all age and ability groups. This year, the organizers have combined the event with the Heartland Racing Series, which is hosted by clubs across the country featuring upper ability skaters.
Ryan Reid, Director of Sports and Special Events at Visit Champaign County anticipates that the economic impact of the event to be over $45,000.
The event is free and open to the public, with competition happening Saturday, February 24, 12:30–7:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 25, 7:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
To learn more about the event, www.champaignregionalspeedskating.org/Land-of-Lincoln.
I-Power School of Gymnastics will host their annual competition, Saturday and Sunday, with over 500 gymnasts from 20 gyms across the Midwest. “We host the I-Power Classic ‘Pink Meet’ gymnastics annually to bring together local female gymnasts who compete in the unified purpose of breast cancer awareness and support,” explains Kevin Burnside, owner of I-Power.
With sessions running from 8:00 a.m.–9:45 p.m. Saturday, and 8:00 a.m.–7:55 p.m. Sunday, gymnasts and their families will generate approximate $438,000 in economic impact over the weekend.
To learn more about the I-Power Go Pink Meet, visit ipowergymnastics.com/i-power-classic/.
About Visit Champaign County
Visit Champaign County, the local destination management organization, provides support in helping coordinate media and providing community resources to the conference. Visit Champaign County’s mission to advance the overall visitor destination experience for the greater Champaign County area, in collaboration with community stakeholders, to strengthen the local economy and quality of life.