LAKE PLACID - Longtime local speed skating coach Tom Miller would love to see Lake Placid once again be a popular venue for holding long track races.
One of the steps in that direction took place last weekend with the Charles Jewtraw All Around Championship races at the Sheffield Olympic Oval, the track where both the 1932 and 1980 speed skating competitions were held.
The event, which was held Saturday, Jan. 5 and Sunday, Jan. 6, drew skaters, young and old, from across New York and other Eastern states, as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Pat Kelly competes in the 3,000-meter race, which was the last of four events held during the 2013 Charles Jewtraw All Around Championship at the Olympic Oval in Lake Placid on Sunday, Jan. 6.
Skaters participating included young athletes with Olympic dreams as well as older adults who just love the sport. Over the two days, racers competed at four distances - 500, 1,000, 1,500 and 3,000 meters - to earn points toward overall trophies. Lake Placid resident and Canadian Olympian Pat Kelly won the men's title and the women's crown went to Esther Munoz.
In conjunction with the races, a three-day clinic was held for speed skating officials that featured Susan Sandvig-Shobe, who has traveled worldwide to officiate events at the sports highest level.
Miller said about 15 people took part in the clinic, which ran from Friday through Sunday.
"More qualified officials could allow us to hold more sanctioned races here," said Miller, who was the race director for the Jewtraw competitions. "And more sanctioned races in the East would open more doors for young skaters looking to advance in the sport."
Miller said when it comes to long track speed skating, the Midwest has become the hotbed of the sport with the biggest events held exclusively in Minnesota, Milwaukee, Wis. and Salt Lake City, Utah.
"We want to make the speed skating program stronger in the East," Miller said. "Eventually, we'd love to have the nationals back, along with World Cup level racing."
Miller said that there are a lot of short track officials in the East, and the goal is now to increase the number of top-level long track officials.
"Every time there is a meet, we have to fly people out," Miller said. "We'd love to see skaters come to Lake Placid. We have the venue."
The next long track races in Lake Placid will be held during the Empire State Games Feb. 7-10, and the Lake Placid All Around Championship will be held the following weekend Feb. 15-16.