Future national figure skating champions and Olympic hopefuls are razor sharpening their skills on the ice at the Broadmoor Open. They are skating at The Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs through Saturday night and it's free admission for everyone to beat the 90 degree heat and cool off watching some hot skating on the ice.
Broadmoor Open official David Hamula tells me this is the 20th year for this non-qualifying event, which means anyone can enter. More than 700 skaters from 35 states and 13 countries are in this competition.
While this is not a qualifying event, it's a still big deal, says Hamula, "It's really the beginning of the 2017-2018 season for these skaters. their programs are brand new. They are testing out these routines and seeing how they measure up to others in the skating world."
Measuring up against others on the ice is even more important this skating season, says Hamula, because the Olympics are just months away in February 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.
"I am honored to help with a bevy of volunteers from the Broadmoor Skating club who give their time and talents to give skaters the opportunity to compete in a world-class venue and get prepared for the biggest competitions which are the regionals, sectionals, nationals and for the lucky few, those who qualify for the Olympics. I think we are going to have several of those who are here and will be on the U.S. Olympic team this year."
There's also another part of the Broadmoor Open that's unique, called the MK Aerial Figure Skating Challenge. Think of the X Games meets "Dancing with the Stars," says David Hamula. "Skaters test maneuvers that they wouldn't be able to do in a normal competition program and are encouraged to push the levels of their athleticism. It showcases that aspect."
The MK Aerial Figure Skating Challenge is Friday and Saturday nights and features four-time U.S. champion and 2014 Olympic team bronze medalist Jeremy Abbott as one of three team captains that also include 2011 U.S. champion Ryan Bradley and Team USA skater Tim Dolensky. Teams will consist of two ladies, two men and one pairs team. There is $30,000 of prize money that will be awarded in various categories of the two-day competition.
The MK Aerial Figure Skating Challenge is a benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It's free admission to see the Challenge on Friday and Saturday at The Broadmoor World Arena.