Medeo


Medeo
The view of the skating rink from the Medeu Dam
With bandy goals
The final of the bandy tournament at 2011 Asian Winter Games between Kazakhstan and Mongolia

The Medeu (Kazakh Медеу Medew [mʲeˈdʲew]), or Medeo (traditional Russian: Медео), is an outdoor speed skating and bandy rink. It is located in a mountain valley (Medeu Valley, or the valley of Malaya Alma-Atinka River) on the south-eastern outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan. Medeu sits 1,691 metres above sea level, making it the highest skating rink in the world. [1] It has 10.5 thousand square meters of ice and utilizes a sophisticated freezing and watering system to ensure the quality of the ice.

Construction of the stadium began in the fall of 1949, and the first competition took place at the stadium on the February 4th, 1951. Medeu switched to its current system of artificial ice in 1972 by a team of Soviet engineers.

The Medeu Dam, built in the late 1960s, stands immediately south of the skating rink, protecting it - and the city of Almaty itself - from potentially devastating mud flows. Viewpoints on top of the dam provide great views of the stadium.

Medeu has seen many world records in all the speed skating distances from 1951 through the 1980s: 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m, 3000 m, 5000 m, and the 10000 m. In 1972, the rink made a very successful transition from natural ice rink to artificial ice rink.[2]

The bandy team Dynamo Alma-Ata, won the Soviet Championships in 1977 and 1990 and the European Cup in 1978.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the costs to uphold the arena as a top ice rink proved too costly for the independent Republic of Kazakhstan. The last great championship event for a long time on this ice rink was held in 1988—the Men's World Speed Skating Championship—which was won by the American skater Eric Flaim.

In the early 2000s, Medeo's future status as a competition rink was uncertain. However, it was proposed as the speed skating venue both for Almaty's unsuccessful bid for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the successful one for 2011 Asian Winter Games.[3] In the end, bandy was the only sport here during the Games.[4] Speed skating was held at an indoor arena in Astana. Medeo will be the main arena of the 2012 Bandy World Championships.[5]

The rink has also been used as the general venue for the popular music festival Voice of Asia (1990 - 2004).

Contents

Medeu in the 2011 Winter Asian Games

On March 4th, 2006, Kazakhstan received the right to host the 2011 Asian Games. The Winter Asian Games were the largest scale competition ever to take place in Kazakhstan, and took place from January 30th till February 6th. While a large portion of the events took place in Astana, Almaty hosted a number of the events, including ski jumps, cross-country skiing, and of course, bandy. For the purpose of hosting this event, Medeu stadium was renovated during 2009, reopening on December 16th after undergoing 19.4 billion tenge (131.8 million USD) worth of repairs and improvements. [6] The bandy tournament of the Winter Asian games took place at Medeu from the 2nd to the 6th of February, 2011[7].

Current Use

Medeu maintains its status as one of the best-known tourist locations in Kazakhstan. The stadium is open to the public year round, allowing visitors to skate at high altitude day or night. During night hours, skaters can enjoy music and lights in the stadium either from the ice, or from VIP boxes available for rent. While ticket prices were raised due to the reconstruction for the Asian Games, it still remains a popular destination for groups of friends or couples. [8] In addition to this, the Medeu stadium and Dam remain the destination for Almaty's International Medeu-marathon. During this event, competitors run up from the city to this famous location, climbing almost 1000 vertical meters before returning to Almaty to finish. 2011 marked the 14th year of this challenging race, with over 150 runners participating. [9]

References

Notes

Some content on this page was translated from the Russian language page on this subject.

Bibliography

  • Bijlsma, Hedman with Tom Dekkers; Alex Dumas; Arie van Erk; Gé du Maine; Hans Niezen and Karel Verbeek. Schaatsseizoen '77-'78: 6e Jaargang, statistische terugblik. Steenwijk, the Netherlands, November 1978.

External links

Coordinates: 43°09′27″N 77°03′31″E / 43.1575°N 77.05861°E / 43.1575; 77.05861


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