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Speedskating Season is Starting and During an Olympic Year it Matters

roadskater's picture

This is a brief note to point to an article about pro long track speedkating season. The one that matters to me, at least. No disrespect intended to the short track derby, but I like mostly non-contact sport contests of speed. The first turn of an F1 race is admittedly often an exception.

This weekend pro long track starts again, and TeamUSA has some experienced skaters leading up to the Olympics. Notably, Shani Davis, a great speedskater over the years, returns. Also Heather (Richardson) Bergsma, from High Point, NC, is back on the ice for another year always being a threat to win the gold. I don't know how or if I'll be able to catch this off the airwaves or streams, but might make an attempt. Former inliner Joey Mantia will also be on the team! 

Now if we could get a banked bike track with a 200m roller oval underneath like Detroit has, it'd be sweet. 

Of course near the Olypics all of this matters, as there are commercials to have watched. Then we'll settle back in obscurity, especially inliners! 


eebee's picture

Following Joey

I've been following Joey Mantia's Instagram account. Every now and then he posts videos of things like him on a skating treadmill. Incredible how much work goes into Olympic training.  It's another world entirely. 

timv's picture

Halfway through

So far, the NBC Olympic Channel has aired three two-hour-long packages each for the Heerenveen (NED) and Stavanger (NOR) World Cup meets. I'm catching up via DVR and still have the final day of Heerenveen to watch. Local guy Joey Cheek is the analyst/commentator and doing a good job of it; familiarity with the athletes, and good insights into skating technique and how they approach each event.

Big stories so far are the Japanese women winning a whole lot and the Norwegian men being not quite that dominant but at least challenging the Dutch skaters after being largely out of the picture for a decade. A point that Joey Cheek has made a few times is that top skaters don't make a goal of winning in November in a season that leads up to the Olympic Games, so many of the favorites might still be under-ripe at this point.

Also of interest is Brittany Bowe's return from post-concussion syndrome after colliding with a teammate while training last year, which cost her most of the season. She doesn't appear to be at the peak of conditioning at this point but she's back on blades and top-ten fit at least and could be a factor by February.

Another point to keep in mind is that the results of these meets determine how many skaters each nation sends to the Olympic Games, but each nation has it's own method of deciding who those skaters will be. In the case of the US, that will be a Trials meet at the start of January. Going on World Cup results so far, the US contingent isn't figuring to be very large, but that makes for an exciting and competitive Trials meet, to look on the bright side.

Calgary's up next, starting tomorrow.

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