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Zen and the Art of Speedskating » A Few Pictures

A Few Pictures


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Life is good, I have joined Scott Koons’ training group (the appropriately named F.A.S.T team). This season it’s a bunch of very gifted younger skaters. I am having a good time, skating well, and am truly exhausted in that good “train yourself to shreds” kind of way.

So in absence of any scrap of a brain to write with, I will just post a few images…

Lacing up on a quiet morning.

Fellow sprinter Tony Davis, looking smooooooth on perfect ice..…

I mentioned Canadian coach Arno Hoogveld in a recent post, I contacted him and let him know about the post (it’s always polite to do that).

We had a great email chat, and I discovered he is not only a coach, but a serious photographer as well. Because he has coaching credentials, he can take pictures from places photographers are not allowed, and since he has the knowledge of skating he does, his eye for capturing this sport is exceptional.

Here is an image he shot of Chad Hedrick, K.C. Boutiette, and Derek Parra during a team pursuit race in Torino -this was not the Olympics, but during the world cup in Torino about a month before.

It’s really clear in this photo to see where elite skaters put their weight in the corners, look at the relation of hips to heels.

These 3 men represent so much of the inline to ice movement (Jen & Joey also count!). They have accomplished an incredible amount in their careers, and it’s interesting to contemplate the number of lives whose arc they have impacted. What a rare shot to see all three cranking out scary speed shoulder-to-shoulder.

p.s. Please don’t steal images online, I asked Arno’s permission to post this. If you like it, ask, he might say yes. If you steal this for commercial use, I will ask a local voodoo expert to make sure your computer suffers from relentless spamstorms and arthritis of the hard drive!

10 Responses to “A Few Pictures”

  1. NICE! Does he have a website?

  2. I have to say something about the FAST Team and the Utah Oval’s time standards for skating “A” ice. I can’t believe that a couple of skaters were kicked off the morning session a few days ago (where all of 12 people were skating) because they had not met the time standards last season. I have to make a few points about this:

    1. Skaters have improved since last season, and should have a chance to do time trials NOW, so they can meet the time standards and skate with their teams. Why make them wait until September 9, and skate ALONE in the afternoons until then?

    2. I realize all facilities have performance standards. HOWEVER, can anyone think of a difference between other speedskating facilities and the UOO? Hmmm….Other speedskating facilities actually HAVE AN OVERCROWDING PROBLEM. Why kick skaters off the ice when there are only 12 people out there in the first place? According to the Oval’s rules, if it’s Thursday morning (the traditional day off for speedskaters around here) and there is a single skater on the ice who has failed to meet time standards, then someone will go out there and kick that person off the ice, so that the ice will remain empty. “We gotta follow the rules.” Witness the death of common sense.

    3. If these time standards truly are a safety issue, then why are the time standards different for men and women? If this were a safety issue, then we’d merely be discussing the relative speeds of objects in motion, and not taking gender into account.

    4. The Utah Olympic Oval is NOT ONLY the elite training facility for USS and the USOC. This facility also has a responsibility to provide quality service to the community, and I mean not just the Salt Lake community, but also the whole community of speedskaters. I tried to get the Oval staff to LET ME round up volunteers to hold time trials this weekend to see if we could get these skaters qualified NOW for “A” ice time, but they wouldn’t consider it. “Time trials will be held September 9th.”

  3. I thought there was going to be the Desert Classic Race series. I thought it started on August 26 and then September 9 then September 23.

    I don’t think the coaches want any of their skaters to race anyway. I think they have different times because, now I don’t know how fast the times are but, they don’t want men going so fast and women can’t go that fast. No offense but you know it’s genetics.

  4. Maybe it isn’t an ideal time of the year to be racing, but I know that the skaters who got kicked off the ice want to be able to train with their teams, and the only way they can do this is to prove that they can skate the cutoff times. The main problem is that these skaters, who are paying for the FAST Program, are being forced to train on their own without coaches or a training group. All the skaters are already a month behind schedule due to the delayed opening of the oval. Why make them wait even longer? Because the Oval’s administration is unmotivated and under USSPEEDSKATING’s thumb?

    If the oval is still planning to hold the Desert Classic race on the 26th, then that isn’t too much longer for the skaters to wait. But then again, the manager of the oval himself told me the first time trial would be on September 9th.

    Of course men are usually faster than women, and ordinarily would be subjected to faster qualifying times, for example, in the case of Olympic qualifying time standards. The point I was trying to make is that if men and women are held to different time standards to be able to skate a particular training session, then it becomes impossible for the “Powers that Be” to PRETEND that they are making this an issue purely dealing with the hazard of having skaters of vastly differing speeds out on the same ice.

  5. Wow,
    Such a beautiful place to skate! Can’t wait for my 1st experance in Salt Lake City.
    Enjoy!

  6. HI Andrew
    Congratulations on your place on the fast team.
    I hope that you will put your veteran expertise
    to some good here and really give inspiration to those young skaters you are talking about,after all you can’t really get any better than being the best, if i’m not wrong you are the world champion are you not ?
    I hope you will also bring life to that hall it looked pretty lifeless in those photo’s
    Where’s the audience? It was full of people last summer.Tony looks cool as always but my goodness he looked lonely. If i’m not wrong in saying the ice looks polished, sad and unused.
    Come on Andrew use your blog to entice summer skaters from Europe the oval is in real need of a good popular image if it wants to survive. If anyone can do this you can.
    Take care and congratulations on your success once again.
    Nice to see that someone really loves the sport and cares for others.
    Carolyn

  7. The only reason that I know of why the skaters don’t have coaches is because Scott is getting married and Leif doesn’t always show up on time or at all to babysit. But I do think it’s a little stupid that they won’t let them skate. Maybe they want at least someone oe the ice in the afternoon to make it look like they actually have enough people who want to skate. I thik that if they are in the fast program they should be able to skate on that ice.

  8. Arno Hoogveld is a good man.

  9. Ha-ha! I think you’re right, Paul.

    By the way - here’s another suggestion for those who run the Oval’s training programs. I think there should be a program for development skaters that holds its main ice training session on the 3-5 PM “B” ice session, so that the skaters can attend college classes in the morning. There may be an interest in such a program among those student-athletes who want to be serious about finishing school in a reasonable amount of time, while still being able to train.

  10. Now Eva, there you go with all that radical thinking again. You and that guy from Chicago with the son. hahaha

    Andrew, so happy to hear that you’re in the FAST program. I’m sure you’ll be making more progress this year… again. Can’t wait to see how things go.

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