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Winter Olympic sports on Long Island

Micah Dean (30) of Deer Park catches some

Micah Dean (30) of Deer Park catches some air as he snow boards at Bethpage State Park. (Dec. 21, 2009) Photo Credit: David Pokress

Let the games begin - and not just in Vancouver. During and after the Winter Games, local rinks from Great Neck to Greenport will be filled with figure skaters, speedskaters, hockey players and ice dancers. If there's snow, you can watch - or try - snowboarding at Bethpage State Park. There's even a chance later this month to learn the Olympic sport of curling.

Here's where to find the thrills, throw the stone and catch the spirit.

MORE: Complete coverage of the Vancouver Olympics

PHOTOS: Athlete and event galleries from the Olympics

MORE: Long Island athletes competing in the Olympics

ICE DANCING, FIGURE SKATING

THE PARKWOOD SPORTS COMPLEX: 65 Arrandale Ave., Great Neck, 516-487-7665, gnfsc.org

When: 7:45-9:45 a.m. Sundays (ice dancing only 4:45-6:45 p.m. Sundays); figure skating only 6:30-8 p.m. Mondays and 5:45-8:15 p.m. Wednesdays

Admission: Free for spectators

What better place to watch jumps and spins than the recently renovated rink, where past figure-skating Olympians Emily and Sarah Hughes of Great Neck trained - and reigned. It's also home to the Great Neck Figure Skating Club, a member of United States Figure Skating Association. A number of other world champions in ice dance and figure skating have been members, says club president Cindy Zubli of Great Neck. Spectators can watch "skaters as young as 5 years old [who] are getting ready to make it to the regionals or nationals of figure skating in hopes of being a competitive skater," she adds.

SPEEDSKATING

CANTIAGUE PARK: West John Street east of Cantiague Rock Road, Hicksville, 516-571-7056

When: 10 a.m.-noon Fridays

Admission: 

In the fast-paced sport immortalized by five-time Olympic gold medalist Eric Heiden, local speedskaters hit the ice here every week. You can also watch ice hockey games and figure skating, or put on skates yourself for your own slap shots or figure eights. The gleaming county-run indoor facility, which was the New York Islanders' practice rink during the 1980s, has bleacher seating and a snack bar.

SNOWBOARDING

BETHPAGE STATE PARK GOLF COURSE: 99 Quaker Meeting House Rd., Farmingdale, 516-249-0701, nysparks.state.ny.us

Snowboarders generally need to head upstate for a decent course, but there is at least one snowboard run on Long Island. When sufficient snow falls, one hill is opened for snowboarding, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Call after 7 a.m. for confirmation. It's free.

CURLING, ICE HOCKEY

GREENPORT PIRATES HOCKEY FEST: Noon-8 p.m. Feb. 27, Mitchell Park outdoor rink, Greenport, 631-477-1133

The day before the Winter Games' closing ceremonies, the Greenport Hockey Club will host a demonstration of curling, the Olympic sport in which teams use a broom (or brush) to sweep a stone down a sheet of ice. In the frozen north in Canada, it's almost a national pastime - but curling also has local devotees among the members of the Long Beach-based Long Island Curling Club. They'll let you try their sport for $1 a throw (noon-1:30 p.m.). After the curling demo, kids and adults from the Greenport Hockey Club will play a series of hockey games on the same rink until 8 p.m. It's free to watch.

MORE: Complete coverage of the Vancouver Olympics

PHOTOS: Athlete and event galleries from the Olympics

MORE: Long Island athletes competing in the Olympics

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