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Ice is the Winter Olympics surface of choice in St. Louis

“It’s just a joy to get on the ice.”

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis athletes put their blades to use in a variety of ways. Hockey seems to be the top choice among skaters of all ages.

It is where the hopes of being an Olympian and NHL player begin.

“We’re training for gold,” said one hockey player.

“I really don’t care which team. I just want to get to the NHL,” said another.

There is also grace and elegance on the ice with figure skating. Skaters say the feeling of gliding on the ice is like nothing else, almost like you are flying.
But these gliding moments don’t come easy.

“There are lots of long, hard mornings,” said one figure skater.

While some people glide, others want to go fast with speed skating. One skater described it as pulling yourself around corners at reckless speeds, trying to get past the person in front of you while keeping ahead of the person behind you.

Meanwhile, you’ll need to master strategy on ice when it comes to curling. One curler said it’s all about trying to set yourself up. The precision sport is a cross between bowling and shuffle board with a graceful slide, as curlers throw stones into the house.

“Usually the team that throws the last stone will be the team that ends up scoring.”

The ice also provides a sense of freedom. The physical sport of sled hockey gives athletes with disabilities the opportunity to go for it, allowing them to rip across the ice.

“I don’t want them to take it easy on me. Just like I wouldn’t be taking it easy on them," said one player.

Sled hockey also offers the chance of one day competing among elite athletes.

“It’s the ultimate honor to play hockey at a high level, but also to represent my country,” a player said.

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