Butte ice track could host Olympians yet again - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Butte ice track could host Olympians yet again

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BUTTE, Mont.-The Butte ice skating oval- an Olympic sized track, which opened in 1987 hosted several national competitions and trained the best speed skaters in the world. At the 1992 Olympicsall but three of the medal-winning speed skaters had trained or raced at the Oval.

Through the years though the refrigeration system failed. Now the rink only works when it's cold enough outside to keep the ice solid.

"We have moved on and have a different focus, but no less just as gratifying,
said David Silk, manager of the Oval.

 Now the oval serves a new purpose.

"When we grow up, we're going to run this place,
said Silks kids Autumn and Will.

A new generation of local speed skaters, with Olympic hopes, train at the Oval almost every day.
A handful of local kids compete on a national scale, keeping the Butte speed skating tradition alive.
 
"Their skills are improving, they're starting to race. Its really a cool thing to see them develop as athletes and specifically as speed skaters,
said Silk.

Before, only trainees and coaches were allowed on the ice, now hundreds of people from around Montana come out to enjoy the famous track.
 
"It makes it special, because its kind of cool to be skating on the same ice,
said Autumn Silk.
 
But Silk dreams of ultimately restoring the oval to its original glory. He wants to get a new refrigeration system and bring back world cup meets. So it seems if Silk's dreams become a reality, Butte could be the maker of all Olympic speed skaters once again.

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