Mexico City takes to the skating rink

Por: Adwordsexperts.Nl  12/12/2007
Palabras clave: Video, Computadoras, Eventos

Mexico City takes to the skating rink By James C. McKinley Jr. Published: December 11, 2007 document.writeln(''); E-Mail Article Listen to Article Printer-Friendly 3-Column Format Translate Share Article Text Size MEXICO CITY: Ice skating ranks low on the list of sports in Mexico, somewhere far below bull fighting and slightly above croquet. So it was with some bemusement, wonder and trepidation that residents of this capital flocked this month to an enormous ice rink that Mayor Marcelo Ebrard has constructed in the historic central square. Where once Aztecs sacrificed to their gods and Spanish viceroys ruled New Spain, thousands of people unused to cold climes tried desperately to experience the swish, glide and flying sensation of skating without falling down. Many failed. "I fell down out there," said Yolanda Salazar, a 34-year-old housewife, laughing as she clung to the side of the rink and held her knee. "I'm so happy. It's great. It makes us forget a little that there is no work and the cost of living is up." Bursting with civic pride, Ebrard boasts that the rink is the largest in the world, a claim that could not be immediately verified. He has even challenged the Guinness Book of World Records to find one larger. It measures 40 meters by 77 meters, or 133 feet by 253 feet. Seventy-four kilometers, or 46 miles, of tubes run under the ice to 10 chilling machines as big a trucks, each capable of freezing a small rink itself. The project cost about $1.5 million. Key Entertainment, an American company, built it, along with subcontractors, officials said. Several large Mexican businesses donated the money, among them the country's largest sporting good chain, a major television network and one of the biggest toy chains. Today in Americas Feeling heat, Hillary Clinton tries Iowa up close Rape of girl, 15, exposes abuses in Brazil prison system Muscle flexing in U.S. Senate: Republican defends strategy ord = Math.random() * 10000000000000000; document.write(''); if ((!document.images navigator.userAgent.indexOf('Mozilla/2.') >= 0)|| navigator.userAgent.indexOf("WebTV") >= 0){ document.write(''); } The rink is part of Ebrard's campaign to make a city known for smog and traffic jams more fun. During the summer, the city trucked in sand to build artificial beaches at seven public pools. Ebrard has also closed down main avenues on Sundays for cyclists and roller skaters. The mayor has also set in motion an ambitious program to re-pave the streets of the historic center and replace aging drainage pipes. He has cleared downtown streets of illegal vendors who had made the sidewalks almost impassable. His approval ratings have soared. Still, the cost of the rink has prompted some grumbling from citizens who think Ebrard, a leftist considered a strong candidate for president, should concentrate more on providing potable water and filling potholes than building a gargantuan ice rink in a region where winter sports are a rarity. "It's something to distract the people from their problems," said Martín Bolaños, a 19-year-old college student, as he watched the skaters and ate popcorn drenched in chili sauce. "But I don't know why we are investing so much money in something like this when we could invest it in something people really need." But city officials said Ebrard's goal was to give everyone in this city a chance to experience a sport only a few wealthy people can afford. The rink is free to all comers for the entire month of December. The city has provided more than 2,400 pairs of skates to those who don't have them. So foreign is ice skating in Mexico that the city had to specially teach a corps of police officers and paramedics how to skate in case of accidents. People line up hours in advance to get a ticket for a 45-minute spin on the ice. On Sunday, the day it opened, more than 12,000 people went skating while 50,000 crowded around the grandstands to get a peek at the white marvel and watch a professional ice show. Even on Wednesday at noon, when most people were at work or school, hundreds of people took to the ice in shifts. Many were students playing hooky and salaried employees who had taken the day off. "Yeah, you could say we're skipping school," Bercely Enrique Valtierra Díaz, a 16-year-old high school student from Ecatepec, Mexico, said as he strapped on skates for the first time. "Ice skating isn't very popular, but at the moment it's in style. It's something really cool for us because, well, we don't even have any snow." Dozens of monitors yelled orders at novice skaters and rushed to pick up the fallen. "Keep your feet like this in a V," barked one of the workers at a line of frightened-looking children shuffling along the rink's edge Monday night. "Come on, my little penguins." Doctors in a first aid tent near the ice said they have treated scores of bruised knees and sutured up dozens of cut scalps. They also have set one broken nose. Dave Gallapoo, 43-year-old employee of IceRink Events, a Houston company maintaining the ice, looked wearily at the endless stream of grinning people turning round and round the ring, some with arms flailing, some teetering on the edge of falling, some skating recklessly through the crowd.

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