Speed skating ice woes threaten green sheen

Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:43pm EST
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By Larry Fine

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The ultra-green sheen to speed skating at the Olympic Oval was dealt a blow on Monday when Games officials said they were bringing in a propane-powered Zamboni to replace a bulky battery-operated ice resurfacer.

A mechanical problem with the Olympia Ice Resurfacer delayed action for the second day in a row, causing more than an hour-long interruption in Monday's men's 500 meters race.

One of the two machines originally used also broke down while preparing the ice midway through the women's 3,000 meters race at the oval, a striking new facility built on environmentally-friendly lines.

Magnus Enfeldt, Venue Operations Manager, told reporters after the conclusion of the 500 meters race that they were turning to a standard Zamboni given the problems at the oval.

"We want to apologize for this delay," Enfeldt said. "The ISU (International Skating Union) referee made a decision to continue with the competition. We will take the necessary steps.

"We are now loading up an ice resurfacing machine in Calgary and it will be here tomorrow."


Enfeldt said the battery-operated machines had functioned well for a year and half at the Richmond rink though he admitted it was not smooth sailing once the Games began.   Continued...

<p>A worker prepares the ice during a break in the men's 500 metres speed skating race at the Richmond Olympic Oval during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 15, 2010. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>