After 100 days of preparation, Sochi’s brand new “Iceberg” Skating Palace was open for test skating. A group of students from the Sochi winter sports school and Olympic champion and 2014 Sochi Ambassador Tatyana Nayka had first tracks on the new rink.
“It was a special feeling, going out on the Olympic ice for the first time. In less than two years, I hope to see Russian figure skaters win not one gold medal on this ice,” said Nayka of the 12,000-person arena. “It was great to see the students of the Winter Sports School in Sochi on the ‘Iceberg’ ice today, and I hope they will fulfill their potential.”
Nayka lead approximately 700 students from the local winter sports school in the tests. The kids are from a school that offers training in bobsleigh, skeleton, luge, hockey, figure skating, cross country skiing, alpine skiing, snowboarding, and curling. If the two young women from the school accepted to the Russian bobsleigh team are any indication, this won’t be the last these kids will see of the Olympic ice.
To prepare the ice, officials covered the concrete of the rink with water and let it freeze in several thin layers to create a 1.5-2cm base. The ground ice was then covered with white paint and another three centimeters of ice. In total, the future Olympic rink was set with four to five centimeters of ice then finished by hand to give the surface an even and consistent shape.
In order to ensure the condition of the ice, detectors were installed to record in various areas of the rink to measure any temperature changes.
The addition of the detectors is included in the nearly 100 days it took to complete the rinks. Most of that time, however, was spent installing engineering slabs for the freezing of the ice. These slabs are made of multi-layered ice cakes from various materials including pipes ad high-density, frost-resistant concrete. Because the concrete is good for at least 200 freezing/unfreezing cycles and this process is only done once a year, the Iceberg rinks will be ready for action for the next two millenniums.
The first events to be held in the venue will be the Grand prix figure skating final this December. Just a couple of months later, in February of 2013, the Iceberg will host the Short Track World Cup.