Olympic Fever Coming To Niles' Iceland

Some Niles skaters have watched Olympic hopefuls Gracie Gold and Jason Brown in person, and Iceland has a full Olympic week planned so you can try synchronized skating, hockey, etc.

The Olympic glow from Sochi, Russia, is casting a light on Niles Park District's Iceland skating rink.

Iceland will hold Olympic Week from Feb. 17 to 22, and everyone from young children to adults will be able to try a variety of skating sports; some are free and others require modest fees. 

In addition, many of the skaters in Iceland's programs are getting inspired by the Olympics to practice their technique.

"Some of the serious skaters are working on double jumps--no triples yet," said Amy Forbes, skating director, adding that Iceland's program is young, since she began leading it less than four years ago.

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Also, Agnes Zawadzki, one of the top U.S. women's figure skaters who took third place in the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships last year, took her initial skating class at Iceland, Forbes said. 

Many Niles skaters have also seen U.S. Olympic team members Gracie Gold, who belongs to a figure skating club in Crystal Lake, and Highland Park skater Jason Brown perform in person in the Chicago area. That's another reason the local ice stylers are excited, Forbes said. 

But most figure skaters won't break into that infinitesimal number of Olympic hopefuls, Forbes said.

"To get to the Olympics, you have to be extremely accelerated at a very young age," she said. "If that's a skater's dream, that could be unachievable. We try to focus on smaller, more achievable goals. Our program is to develop a well-rounded skater."

Olympic Week Activities at Iceland

But to become a well-rounded skater, you've first got to get on the ice and try new things. That's the goal of Iceland's Olympic Week, Forbes said. Some of the activities can only accommodate a limited number of people, so it's best to preregister.

It starts with a public skate on Presidents Day, a school holidays. On Tuesday, ages four through adult can try skating for free.  

On Wednesday, you can try synchronized skating, in which a team of 8 to 20 skaters coordinate their moves. Thursday brings Olympic Ring Day, where you can try Olympic sports, or versions of them, like curling, tom sled, shoot the puck, etc.

There's a broom ball (also called broom hockey) tournament Friday, and you can again try skating and hockey, and enjoy a public skate, on Saturday. 

Like Niles-Morton Grove Patch on Facebook and strap on your skates! 


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