Hundreds of speed skating enthusiasts are expected to flock to Prince William County this week for the U.S. Junior National Short-Track Speed Skating Championship at the Prince William Ice Center.
Beginning on Friday, 75 skaters from 13 to 19 years old will compete in the three-day event in Woodbridge, but far less than half of that number will win one of the eight spots at the World Junior Short Track Championship in Poland.
For a full schedule with event times click here.
Friday's event is also seen as a stepping stone to the Olympics, according to Prince William County visitation officials. In fact, many skaters are already invited to the Olympic trials in September, according to a release on the event issued by Discover Prince William & Manassas.
This is the second year Prince William County has hosted the competition at the Prince William Ice Center in Woodbridge. The county's business and tourism community is hoping the event will bring revenue to the area.
“We are thrilled the speed skating community wanted to return to Prince William this year for its national event,” Discover Prince William & Manassas Executive Director Ann Marie Maher said in a release. “Not only are we an easily accessible and affordable location, but we have a wealth of hotels and venues, like the ice center, that can accommodate sporting events."
The ice center was selected by skating officials because it is near area airports, its Olympic-sized rink and its capacity to hold a large crowd.
Discover Prince William & Manassas has created a 20-member "sports tourism task force" to help tap into the sport tourism market, which, according to the company, is a growing segment of the tourism industry.
“We recognize the economic benefits competitive sports have on local business,” Maher said. “With tournaments, come hundreds of visitors eating in our restaurants, shopping in our stores, exploring our attractions and staying in our hotels.”
The task force is actively researching tournaments to bring to Prince William County or Manassas. A plan is also in the works to market the area to the sports world.
Love Patch? Then give us the thumbs up on Facebook by "liking" our news page.