http://s188.photobucket.com/user/JIM...02540.jpg.html I still think Yuzuru got a better training ground.
Wow! Thank you all for replying. I was half expecting this to be one of those threads that nobody bothered with.
Instead, we have found out a whole pile of interesting facts!
So, quite a few elite level skaters not only started out in shopping centre rinks, but still train in them. I would never have thought that!
It was open rinks within shopping centres that my question was originally about. But, I also found it interesting the stories about closed rinks attached to shopping centres.
In Northern Ireland, we used to have 2 rinks - one in the West of the province (The Jet Centre in Coleraine), and one in the East (Dundonal Ice Bowl, just outside Belfast). But then the Jet Centre's rink closed. So, we only have one rink now.
Of course, one rink is better than none. And, it is easy to access for those in the Greater Belfast area. But, with our public transport network being so dire, it is not always easy for us in rural areas in the West of the Province to get to Belfast.
Which is probably why, since Jenna came through, we have had NO skaters from this side of the Province. All the skaters that have started competing have been from the greater Belfast area.
But, last summer we had a temporary rink in Portrush (7 miles from Coleraine). And it was a roaring success. So, hopefully somebody will get the hint and open a permanent rink this side of the Province again... even if it is just a small one in a shopping centre!
But, I don't think it would be a good idea to be skating on a small rink ALL the time. You wouldn't get the spatial awareness that you would need when you come to compete on a full-size rink.
But then again, to use Unite's words, "I know nothing about skating".
Actually Tonya trained at the rink at the Lloyd Center in central Portland. The rink is still there.
In the 30 For 30 documentary, I think she said people used to throw things at her when she was training, after the Nancy incident.
In the 30 for 30 documentary, the rink Tonya is shown skating at is the (now closed) rink at Clackamas Town Center. She also trained at the Lloyd Center rink, where her coaches still coach.
I believe Tara Lipinski skated a bit at the Galleria in Houston. At least that's what was advertised after she won Olympic gold, though I don't think she spent too much time training/skating in Houston in general.
There is a beautiful ice complex in Arlington, VA (just outside of Washington DC) that is located ABOVE a shopping mall. Retail stores are located on the bottom 3 stories and the actual rinks are located on the top floor. The facility (two rinks - one Olympic and one NHL)has not produced a big figure skating name but it is the training complex for the pro hockey team (Washington Capitols) trains.