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      NMU gets Berry ready for speedskating trials

      Calm before the storm. That was the Berry Events Center Tuesday morning, as people finished setting up for the week's U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team trials.

      Technical crews ran cable and tested computers and video cameras for the photo finish line and video replay equipment.

      And while everyone seemed to know their job today, it took months to organize the 1,200 volunteers, assign tasks, build new rink pads and prepare the ice.

      Crews painted over the hockey lines, adding over an inch of ice for the Olympic trials. And last week, new 19-inch rink pads were delivered.

      "The skaters can go up to 30 miles an hour," said USOEC Assistant Director, Mike Fields. "So, when they crash, they need protection. They can't be too soft or they'll go right through, and they can't be too hard."

      The Olympic Committee spent the morning looking over the Berry, approving the ice and other parts of the arena.

      As for NMU's Media Relations Department, their greatest pressure of the week is time.

      "You have to get this information out as the races are over," said Director Cindy Paavola. "The information has to be flowing out to the national and international media, because they're on a deadline."

      They spent Tuesday morning prepping to help national and regional media outlets cover pre-Olympic events.

      "People who aren't typically a sports fan get involved, too," she said. "So, it's a tremendously huge event for Northern, for the Upper Peninsula, for the USOEC, but mostly for the speedskaters who are trying to go after their Olympic dream."

      Officials say there are still tickets for each night of the trials, which run through Saturday.