Olympics 2014: A look at speed skating - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Olympics 2014: A look at speed skating

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Swift and suited-up, traveling at speeds of 35 miles per hour or more, speed skating has been hogging part of the Olympic buzz as the men's and women's teams from around the world hit the ice.

The Iowa Speed Skating Association pays close attention to the 2014 Sochi Games, and practices locally at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena; the arena is the only rink in Iowa at which the group can skate.

The association's treasurer, Roger Keller, has been skating only for a few years, but said others in the group were practically raised on the ice, like President Jim Park and Dawn Vircks.

Vircks won a national speed skating championship several years ago, and said she continues to skate year-round.

Keller explained the rules of the sport are simple: skate fast and avoid interference with other skaters.

There are both long track and short track speed skaters in the bunch, which gives way to different skate blades. A speed skater wears a much different skate than a figure skater; the blade is longer and flat, allowing for an increased speed with lateral strides from the skater.

The speed is what clinches medals, and has a lot to do with the position of the skater. Keller said the skater is low with legs bent, bottom up and back rounded. The head is downward, allowing a more unobstructed airflow. The hands are placed behind, unless used for pumping to gain speed.

The Iowa Speed Skating Association welcomes new members of all skill level. More information on the group can be found at iowaspeedskating.com.

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