Bowing on Netflix on January 1, skating drama Spinning Out looks like it will be serving up major Black Swan on skates action and emotion. The story follows Kat Baker (Kaya Scodelario), a high-level single-skater who reluctantly decides to become a paired competitor after suffering a massive fall. Her mother, played by Mad Men’s January Jones, doles out destructive criticism and major league mom-ager moments in the trailer, at one point screaming at Kat, “You’ll never be a champion!” and throwing out a box of her trophies.
Kat, like any skater on the national stage, skates at an Olympic looking facility while trying to continue her career as a pair skater with a talented (but of course, bad-boy) partner, Justin Davis (Evan Roderick). Kat “splits her time between the ice rink, working as a waitress, and living with her family in the nearby working-class town of Hawkley, Idaho,” reports Deadline.
While Hawkley isn’t real, aspiring champion skaters living in Idaho and Utah are fairly common. Why? The world class Olympic facilities in Utah, which are portrayed in Spinning Out as Pinecrest Ice Arena in Park City. Built for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the Utah Olympic Oval is located in the community of Kearns, near Salt Lake City, Utah. While Park City has Olympic facilities, the ice skating portion of the 2002 Olympics took place closer to Salt Lake City. The Oval has Utah’s only 400-meter speed skating oval and two international-sized ice sheets as well as a state-of-the-art four-lane 442-meter running track.
During the 2002 Olympics, American figure skater Sarah Hughes took the gold medal, coming back from fourth place in the short program to nail her long program.
Interestingly, in light of Kat’s switch to pairs skating, the facility was the sight of the first major ice skating scandal since Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan went toe-to-sharpened-toe in the '90s. Allegations arose that the pairs’ figure skating competition had been fixed, leading to two pairs teams receiving gold medals. Both original winners Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia and original silver-medalists Jamie Salé and David Pelletier of Canada. The scandal was one of the causes for the revamp of scoring in figure skating to a new judging system.
Now that the facility is used for training and practice, there are many wanna-be Olympians there every morning – including Kat Baker.