Deseret News Article, & April!!!

Deseret News reporter Heidi Bruce came out to the oval to watch the World University Games qualifer races this past weekend, and she did a nice story on them that quoted me a bit (if this link “rots” over time, here is a .pdf I saved of the article).

It’s very difficult to step into an intense subculture of any kind, and do it justice in a newspaper report, but I think she accurately captured what I call “the skate tribe” in its usual fine form. She saw the intensity, focus, & “mask” required for racing, and then the camaraderie off the ice.

She did miss the factual item that James Clay Warren finished second to me in the 500m, not Matt Plummer. But that’s ok, being a reporter is really hard. If you asked me to cover a basketball game, I would fail miserably at describing the subtleties & subculture of that sport, and probably miss statistics too.

The photographer at the event grabbed a FANTASTIC photo of Michael Stein-Stewart, that goes along with the article. Mike has level shoulders, hip to the inside of the push, good blade direction, and the NIKE logo is even visible to make sponsors happy. I follow him during training every time I can. If I could figure out how to build corner pressure through a turn the way he does, I’d be skating some scary fast times.

I won’t republish the shot of Mike here out of deep respect for digital copyright. But again here is the link to the article.

Hedi also wrote about Saturday’s races as well (here is the .pdf)

Thanks Heidi!

Speedskating has won more Olympic medals for the USA than all the other sports combined. We skate tribe members know that it’s a beautiful, inspiring, fascinating sport full of unique stories. It’s nice when the media shows up and agrees outside of the Olympi-gasm.

Here is my visual evidence of what I am talking about, April Medley has been really sick recently, however she desperately wanted to qualify for World University Games & her performances this weekend were not up to her usual standard. In her final chance, she threw down a technically excellent 5k, even though she was obviously tired & not her normal self.

There was a whole row of people screaming, hamming the pads, clapping, and yelling encouragement as she suffered through her last 50m. It was LOUD, and some of the loudest were other skaters who had beaten her earlier in the weekend.

April made it!!! And will be on the plane to Torino for the World University Games in late january.

You can see how happy she is, here with fellow qualifiers, from L to R, Tani Mintz, Ashlee Barnett, and April. For all 3 of these athletes, this will be their first time competing overseas. Good luck!!

6 Responses to “Deseret News Article, & April!!!”

  1. At previous winter oly’s, Canada typically brings back more than 50% of all it’s medals in speed skating, yet somehow we end up at the bottom of the popularity pile when it comes to goverment assistance. Our measly and financially suffering ovals don’t do the sport justice.

  2. Hip Hop (Eric Gee) is right. We had a short track world cup race right here in our own country with Canadians winning many medals, and it *barely* made the news…

  3. The truth is our countrymen, yanks or canucks, for the most part are addicted to semi-ritualized combat contests, [r.e; hockey, etc.] of which I, and I believe Andrew, are escapees, or I like to believe I personally evolved/matured beyond that game to speedskating. But it’s shoved into the hoi-poloi’s brains, as we see from Julius Caesar’s decree, ‘Give them bread and Circuses’. As if Vietnam and Iraq weren’t enough..I’m not sure if World Society in large is ‘evolving’ in a manner some of us would hope to see. After almost 60 years on this planet I ‘m not too optimistic anymore in that regard!

  4. Speaking of combat, my gloves are coming off right now. I’m sorry to hear that the Canadian support system for speedskating is not living up to the performances of their own team, but from all I’ve read, I believe that at least Canada has acknowledged the problem and is at least working towards some solutions.

    On the contrary, USSPEEDSKATING’s support system consists entirely of USS misrepresenting and exaggerating its support of its athletes (to the media), while in reality they do next to nothing for their athletes. USS counts on the lack of popularity of speedskating during the years in between Olympics in order to get away with treating their athletes like crap. Is anybody paying attention to OUR team’s Fall World Cup results?

    I noticed that some people have been attacking me in previous comments on this blog. I will not deny that I am angry about USSPEEDSKATING’s treatment of me, and about their treatment of their athletes in general. Any moron can insult my character, but can you fight me on the issues, the facts, and the evidence?

    Argue, if you can, the following points:

    1. USSPEEDSKATING’s web site is never up to date.
    2. USSPEEDSKATING will lose World Cup starting positions for next season, based on this season’s results.
    3. USSPEEDSKATING’s women’s team is an embarrassment.
    4. USSPEEDSKATING is spending money it does not have.
    5. No other financially strapped federation sends athletes who finish third-from-last to Asia for World Cups.
    6. Deny this: Chris Shelley was hired to take a fall for USSPEEDSKATING. You set him up for failure. You’re going to blame him for things that are not his fault, and then you’re going to fire him.
    7. Defend your choice for Program Director: Tell me how he stacks up against the likes of Finn Halvorsen and Boris Vasilkovsky, and what he has to offer the coaches under him.
    8. Deny this fact: I skated the 1000 meters 10 times on the World Cup circuit, and never went slower than 1:19 and change. Tell me you’re glad I got out of the way so that “the next Midway Minnesota girl could have her chance.”

    At this point, I am holding the United States Olympic Committee responsible for betraying several of this country’s best speedskaters, by allowing USSPEEDSKATING to continue to practice nepotism, favoritism, blackballing, and other forms of unfairness.

  5. Here’s more — from a friend of mine who would like to remain anonymous:

    9. What is the status of the athlete agreement?
    10. What is the status of past and current payments due from the USOC that were being held back?
    11. What’s the status of the 4-year plan and future funding?
    12. Will we be seeing a Racing Blade or eBlade any time soon?
    13. Membership data?
    14. Financial/budget data?
    15. Minutes or summaries of any executive committee meetings since the board meeting?
    16. We haven’t seen important events being promoted inside and outside the organization, like new hires (short track and long track national team coaches, program directors…) old coaches’ contracts being renewed, new programs (inline to ice)…
    17. Results from domestic and international competitions not being reported, meaning that opportunities for publicity are LOST, opportunities to become visible to sponsors are LOST, credibility with athletes is LOST…
    18. No words of communication, morale building, information, ANYTHING from the leadership. Nothing to rally the organization or tout the benefits of belonging; to get people excited. (No news is good news, right?)

    My friend says, “Being short of staff and short of money are not viable excuses for these lapses. If you can’t get the job done then step aside, whoever you are, and let someone who can at least do the basics in a crisis mode, do the job. The way it is now, there is nothing apparent going on that would inspire the USOC, sponsors, or the foundation to throw more money towards the present organization and its leadership.”

    I say this: All you have done since the board meeting, USSPEEDSKATING, is acknowledged that we want “the APPEARANCE of change.” No, we don’t want the APPEARANCE of change. WE WANT THINGS TO ACTUALLY CHANGE.

  6. For what it’s worth… I’m 32, started skating for the first time after the ‘02 Olympics.

    Other than the “tryspeedskating.com” site that put me in touch with local clubs, I have yet to see anything that resembles “leadership” come out of Westlake/SLC.

    I have heard plenty about certain athletes being “taken care of”, and certain “executives” being clueless.

    As a new skater, with two college degrees and 10 years of business experience, my way of seeing things is this — U.S. Speedskating, as an organization, (in agreement with points 1-18 above) is a failure.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.