Location: 301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Events: figure skating - men's, ladies, pairs and ice dancing; short-track speed skating - men's and women's 1,500m, 1,000m, 500m, men's 5,000m relay and women's 3,000m relay; Complete scheduleKristan Jacobsen, Deseret News
Name game: In keeping with the Olympics' move away from commercialism at venue sites, SLOC refers to the arena as the Salt Lake Ice Center. It will be interesting to see how the national and international media?particularly NBC?call the arena during competition.
Previous Olympic-type events: 1999 U.S. Figure Skating Championships
Briefly: Skaters and spectators alike have voiced concerns and complaints about the Delta Center as a figure skating venue, primarily because nearly every seat has some kind of sight-line restriction when ISU-regulation ice is used. The Olympic-sized ice is larger than the basketball floor, so seats have to be removed. That leaves the first row of seats about 15 feet up and several feet behind the ice. Skaters at the 1999 U.S. Figure Skating Championships commented it felt as though they were "skating in a cave" because they felt so removed from the audience (and because of the black curtain draped from the first row of seats to the floor).
Spectators complained the seating configuration prohibited them from seeing the skaters perform near the edges of the ice. Video boards were placed at either end of the rink to assist with the sight-line restrictions, but many skaters said it was distracting. Others, like Michelle Kwan, requested they be turned off.
SLOC President Mitt Romney acknowledged the various concerns but pointed the finger of responsibility at the sport's international governing body. Romney said SLOC would have chosen to hold the figure skating events at the E Center, a facility designed especially for ice sports, and host hockey competition at the Delta Center. But, he added, the International Skating Union decided on the Delta Center because of its greater seating capacity and central location.
Video boards will again be used at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, through this time they will be mounted high above the ice, where the arena's central scoreboard now hangs. A few additional seats also will be placed near the ice.
Though the venue will likely be the cause for concern regardless of what adjustment SLOC makes, Romney said every figure skating ticket has been sold. Buyers were warned, he said, and they bought tickets anyway.
The ISU has since come out declaring that it had no responsibility for the venue problems.
For more information about the Delta Center go to www.deltacenter.com.