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Skating Gaining Speed In Ward Seven

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By Peter Granitz

Many eyes have been on speed skating at the Olympics recently, a sport where athletes race one another by gliding on ice on long blades. It's not too common in Washington, D.C. but one group in the district is teaching young kids how to compete in the sport.

Nine-year-old Lavel Walls trains through Kids on Ice, a program that offers free gear and classes at Fort DuPont Ice Arena in Ward Seven.

Walls wears tight shiny blue racing pants, a bright yellow helmet that sits on the back of his head and a determined look on his face as he rounds a turn. All morning he's been skating in circles, while coaches and other kids critique his form.

Sitting on a bench after practice, Walls flaps around his arms and wrings his body, teaching us what not to do.

"Sometimes when I race I come in first: I don't flail around my arms and do this," he says.

Kids on Ice also teaches children hockey and figure skating.

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