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NC, a Hotbed of Olympic Speedskating

timv's picture

North Carolina becomes a hotbed of Olympic speedskating

William Douglas, McClatchy News Service, February 16, 2018

The U.S. Olympic speedskating team at the 2018 Winter Olympics has a North Carolina accent.

Long track skater Heather Bergsma and short track coach Anthony Barthell hail from High Point, N.C., while long tracker Kimani Griffin is from Winston-Salem.

The Tar Heel State isn’t known as a hotbed for ice sports. But the state has a reputation as a mecca for inline skating, which has increasingly become a key supplier of talent for the U.S. ice speedskating program.

There's quite a lot in this piece about the High Point Speed and Piedmont Speed skating teams and their impact on ice speed skating at the current Olympic games.

Inline skaters make excellent ice speedskaters because of their intense training regimen, according to Nathaniel Mills, a three-time Olympic speedskater who founded a Washington, D.C., learn to skate program.

"They’re just animals, they train so much harder," Mills said. "They’re racing more frequently, they’re doing long distance races. There’s thousands of registered youth inline speedskaters in the U.S. There are only hundreds of ice speedskaters. The competition is so much higher to make junior national teams in inline, to make world teams. So from an early age, they have to be good."


eebee's picture

Unnatural Body Position

This is so good to see. Great article. Thanks for posting about it. I like these bits:

"The transition to blades is difficult because of the different mechanics involved. Griffin said it’s taken him six years to feel good on ice.

"This is a sport that’s so unorthodox and so unnatural as far as body position," he said. "The physics of the sport that allow you to go fast just aren’t things that the body naturally wants to do. I think it takes most people no less than 5-6 years to be like really good."

I wonder if he means ice or inline? Perhaps he means speed skating in general. 


I love this:

"Thirteen inline skaters have won 11 of 18 individual Olympic long track medals for the U.S. since 2002."

Although I'm trying to figure out what that means. 

roadskater's picture

Piedmont Rinks

Great article and kudos to those who ran the program at Rol-a-Rink in High Point. I went down there a few times, and as I recall, it's a small rink. This may help those who train there in terms of staying closer to the cones even when away from them. They have had monster skaters come out of that rink, and Greensboro's Skateland USA sites have not done too badly, either. I recall a rink in Winston-Salem where I "raced" once; the cool thing there was they had a one night a week speed session for older adults (meaning above, say, 30). Most of the time I skated with the kids session on Saturday mornings, as I was never going to be fast, and I enjoyed nobody thinking I was taking it seriously as a racer in the tiny elliplses. 

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