Olympic Oval

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Olympic Oval
Olympic Oval.jpg
Olympic Oval in 2006
Location 2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Coordinates 51°04′37″N 114°08′10″W / 51.077°N 114.136°W / 51.077; -114.136 (Olympic Oval)Coordinates: 51°04′37″N 114°08′10″W / 51.077°N 114.136°W / 51.077; -114.136 (Olympic Oval)
Owner University of Calgary
Operator University of Calgary,
Faculty of Kinesiology
Capacity 2,000 - permanent seating
4,000 w/ temporary seating[1]
Broke ground 1985
Opened September 1987
Construction cost $38.9 Million
Architect Graham – McCourt
National Speed Skating Team, National Speed Skating Development Team, Oval Program, University of Calgary Dinos Hockey

The Olympic Oval in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is a covered speed skating oval; it was built for the 1988 Winter Olympics and opened 31 years ago in 1987.[2]

Located on the University of Calgary campus, it is the official designated training center for Speed Skate Canada and the Canadian National Speed Skating team.

In 2012, it commemorated its 25th year of public service with a number of exciting activities and celebrations.


The Olympic Oval was designed as the first covered speed skating oval in North America, and was the first at a Winter Olympics. The indoor facility offered the ability to control climate conditions to produce the highest quality ice.

Construction of The Oval began in 1985, nearly four years after Calgary had been designated host of the XV Olympic Winter Games. Like the Olympic Saddledome, most of the Oval's structure was built using precast, prestressed concrete. Twenty eight beams were laid along the outside of the perimeter of the building to support 84 additional beams used to construct a lattice frame for the arched roof. The interior scaffolding used to hoist these 84 beams had to be lowered a centimetre at a time in a predetermined sequence in order to distribute the load of the roof equally to each of the 28 exterior support beams. Construction was completed by the end of the summer of 1987, officially opening in September 1987, five months before the Olympics.

Olympic Oval in 2007

It was during the speed skating events of the Olympic Winter Games in 1988 that The Oval became known as "the fastest ice on Earth," as world records were set in seven events (Men's 500 m, 1500 m, 10,000 m, and Women's 500 m, 1000 m, 3000 m, 5000 m), and Olympic records were set in the other three events (Men's 1500 m, 5000 m, and Women's 1500 m).

The combination of the climate-controlled facility and the effects of high altitude have been credited for the fast ice surface. Throughout the following 14 years the vast majority of speed skating world records were set at The Oval. The Oval continues to be regarded as a premier speed skating venue, and a preferred training facility for speed skating teams across the globe.

Along with the 400 m long-track speed skating oval, the Olympic Oval also includes two international-sized ice rinks for short-track speed skating and ice hockey, a 450 m running track surrounding the main oval, and an eight-lane 110 m sprint track for year-round athletics training.

When not hosting hockey games and speed skating competitions, The Oval is open to public skating, family day events, and the Calgary Science Fair.

A panorama taken from the northeast corner of the facility.


  1. ^ "Calgary Olympic Oval Self Guided Tour: Panel 4 – The Building". Ice Speed Skating Ovals and Clubs in Canada. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ 1988 Winter Olympics official report. Part 1. pp. 144-51.

External links[edit]