All within 30 seconds

It’s just amazing how many facial expressions can flow across a face in a tiny amount of time. This was just an everyday breakfast of rice mash & squash, and RZ’s expressions were flowing so fast, it took a digital camera to keep up.

My favorite useless factoid right now is that on average, women can recognize facial expressions at twice the speed that men can. Hmmmm. My second favorite useless factoid is about the difference in eye structure, but that is for another post.

Unpublished Heiden

Finding an unpublished image of Eric Heiden is quite unusual, as he retired 28 years ago.

Even more unusual is this is Eric in one of his very last speedskating competitions. This is the world Allaround Championships 2 weeks after the Olympic games in Lake Placid. I love the outdoor rink with the crowds sitting right on the ice

I send a huge thanks to Dutch Photographer Peter Van Balen for this image.

The more I know this sport, the more I am amazed at what Eric’s career was like. He was like a runner who essentially won everything from the 100m dash to the 10k. Amazing.

The fascinating thing about this photo, is that this was a day that Eric did not win. And there is another bit of information just became public recently, about how the Dutchman responsible for refrigerating the rink cheated, turning off the refrigeration, and as the ice got softer & softer, it slowed Eric down. He was 2nd overall in the allarounds, by a small margin.

Here is what Peter says about that day, and the picture.

Looking back the picture must have been taking at Heiden’s LAST world championship; also in Heerenveen, but in 1980. (in 1977 he skated in blue and I didn’t have a telezoom for my camera yet).

He was second, about the only time he was beaten; however, this was apparently not just due to his post-Olympics busy weeks (the WC were only 2 weeks later) and his lesser motivation (according to himself), but also, not known to him as far as I know, to the fact that the guy responsible for the (ice) rink maintenance decided (he admitted later) to change the ice preparation schedule on the last distance (10k), thus benefiting the later (Dutch) winner, Hilbert van der Duim.


Alo world cup pics

I can’t compete with Tom’s artistry, but what I can do is take pictures of the things that might not make a news release, but carry so much of the culture of skating.

For example, here are some of the “young guns” of our sport tailgating in the parking lot:

From left to right you have: Ian Baranski, Justin Stelly, Aex Mark, Jonathan Garcia, Brent Aussprung , & a friend of Brents.

Josh Wood is in the front, with Kuda the boxer.

None of these guys were racing, and they were in as welcoming a mood as their Kielbasa was tasty.

Dutch Fans!! Yeah!

Actually the interesting thing about these two lovely ladies is that although they are Dutch, they live in Salt Lake. They were sitting with American friends, and at one point, one of them gestured to the far off singing mass of orange fans, and wistfully remarked to me “I should be over there.”

However the rambunctious fan award had to go to the Norway, there were only 30 or 40 of them, but they were LOUD! And when Håvard Bøkko took on Sven Kramer in the 5k, they cheered their hearts out.

Here is a quick image of that duel-

The thing I like about this photo is that you can see both Håvard and Sven doing something that most intermediate skaters fail to do. Both of them are planting the left leg far outside their center of gravity, so it creates immediate pressure.

Look where their chins & shoulders are, as opposed to where the skate blade is touching the ice. Most intermediates “over-reach” and place their blade on the ice directly under their center of gravity. You lose pressure. These two are the best in the world right now, and don’t lose a thing.

Interestingly enough, my friend Eric Kraan was “scoring the 5k” like someone scores a baseball game. Click on each picture for the large version, so you can read the lap times & how they varied during the race.

You can see the page Eric got these interesting charts from, here (in Dutch)

You can also see, in this graph, how “in a class by himself” Sven is.

Of course, speaking of scoring, what can one say about this scoreboard!!!

The funny thing about this, is right before the races started, Eric says to me, “I bet you $10 Shani breaks the world record!” Honest to god, I replied to him “If you give me 4-1 odds, I bet Trevor breaks the world record too, and wins”.

We were just joking, and no money changed hands, but here is an image I wish I was in a better angle to get. After the dust & ice chips settled, and both men were skating by the cheering crowd, Shani raised Trevor’s hand.

later, on the podium, with Canada’s Denny Morrison.

I have a feeling we could see some arrangement of these 3 incredible athletes on the podium in Vancouver.

Vancouver is a long way off, but these three were heads & shoulders above everyone else in the 1,000m