Following Keith

Late in the evening on Friday, the day the men’s 500m-world record was set, there was an open speed skating session.

I had my camera with me, and my buddy Keith was skating very well that day, so I said “hey, why don’t I follow you for a few laps”.

This might be some of the best footage I have ever shot while actually skating.

If you are a speedskater, you see this all the time in practice. If you aren’t, welcome to our world.

Keith is a distance skater, and is just skating steady at 5k-10k pace, cruising at 25 & 26mph (his first lap was 35.1, the second 34 flat).

It’s hard to skate holding a camera steady, much more tiring than normal!

Click here for the high quality quicktime, or below to start the YouTube.

Watching this, can you understand why this smooth sensation of flight is so addictive? & why people move to the Utah oval from all over the USA (Keith from Alaska, myself from NY).

I do this all the time, even so, looking at this video, I just wanna GO SKATE.

It’s worth noting that the pads on the Utah oval are not usually slathered with ads (they are part of the world cup).

11 Responses to “Following Keith”

  1. Andrew,

    how to speed without really trying - nice footage very stable camerawork. You need/deserve a small light weight camera in your cap (being used in the coverage of our marathon races..) (the adds are mostly -all? - dutch. i proposed tvm that they should adopt the Oval. I mean furnishing the money to exploit this hall. You have plenty of excellent skaters anyway.

    It took me some time and pc-frustation but here we are. Here is the alta-vista translation of the article of the 8th of march — prediction of the medals for Martina S.

    Volkskrant 8th of march 2007

    Turnings drive on the straight pieces

    Shoes of our report donor mark of Driel

    Salt LAKE CITY - for a hazardous forecast Petr Novak do not shy away from. Why he? The 59 person whose birthday it is coach of Martina Sablikova was worn out years for a zonderling, because he praised that a country could decent skating rink produce without strong schaatsers. Toch he got right. Sablikova became in January European champion allround, as first Czech.

    ExplanationIt was only the beginning, thinks Novak. He expects that its 19 person whose birthday it is orphan will explore the coming days, at the WK distances in salt Lake city, the borders of possible. She is this season of exceptional class on the long distances. Especially on the 5 kilometres, the distance on which them fourth became at the Olympic game, its times defied sometimes imagination. At the WK allround she drove the competition on wide ten seconden.

    Novak of it have been persuaded that Sablikova coming week end the five years old world record of Claudia Pechstein (6.46,91) can improve largely. ‘If the ice here net is this way fast such as in Calgary, she is possible faster than 6.40 to drive’says, Novak, whereas is can back and forth goes between its stopwatch and its orphan on the skating rink. To its joy Sablikova in extremely masters tempo drives flat rondjes of 32 seconden. ‘The ice is rapidly.’

    According to Novak the Czech, which last week end wrote long distances on its name to the world goblet, normal ‘development’ makes. He has taken her as a 10 person whose birthday it is under its hoede and has kneaded to which she is now.

    Novak consider her as an unusual brio, but think that labour is the key to its success. ‘Everyone says that Martina are an exceptional brio. For me for the heart and the head twists it. Them wants work hard. There it concerns.’

    The slight, pezige Sablikova, which are fluent in no strange languages, is physical capable performing unusually much work. For lack of ice they trains, just like Chad Hedrick, much on roller-skate. Last summer remained them according to Novak ongeslagen in a circuit of Czech skeelerwedstrijden, on distances of 25 up to 42 kilometres.

    But work desire is not some secret of Sablikova. She is notable by its uncommon turning technique. She makes unusually many battles and impregnates the turning on the straight end. In place the rondje to subdivide in 200 meters righteously and 200 meters linksaf, she makes a partitioning of 280 and 120 meters. After each turning she continues with to change to them this way’n 40 meters on the straight piece is.

    ‘It is talk for me with difficulty about this’, says Novak. ‘This is our mystery. We have worn out for crazy person. Many have said that we had stop, years suffered already. But I have always believed in. It a development of years has been. Everyone in my group does it. We bring new technique.’

    Novak do not doubt to the method, since Sablikova on 3 and the 5 kilometres are already almost the fastest aller times. That, it has been seen the situation of Czech skating, remarkable. In Czechia is according to the coach, including he himself, no longer than 25 active schaatsers. The meesten to be part of the training group which he has set up and where he fulfils several functions. Except coach he is fysiotherapeut, driver, mental coach, manager and plough doctor. He only does, in short, everything.

    Financially is manage themselves. Years Novak have put own money in its dream to turn Czechia into a prominent shoe country. Just this season, thanks to the successes of Sablikova, Czech sponsors have been interested touched. Of it also the coach profits.

    ‘Five years suffered, Martina still nothing, have I her had been then represented that she has to the chance the bests of the world become. Then I have with its and its parents agreed that if money would be deserved we would get every half. Therefore half of sponsor - and price money is for me.’

    A pot is it according to Novak still least. He values current income on small 1000 euro per month is, because much money goes to the twelve schaatsers counting training group of which also Sablikova’s younger brother Milan determine part. The 15 person whose birthday it is boy has already participated this year to the World cup. ‘Martina have no interest for money. She wants simply best for the its. She stands with both feet on the ground.’

    Novak hope that Sablikova remain sober under the success, because its impressive performances have been notable in Czechia. Last year were them already genomineerd for the title sport woman of the year. They and Novak the premier has been invited after the WK on a visit coming. And it is spoken there concerning the construction art skating rink covered of the first. ‘Martina are now very popular. I think that the next year improves still with us will go.’

    Remark Jules: sorry for the ridiculous solutions of AltaVista (she/he/it would never pass any exam). Next time I’ll let the machine translate from dutch into esperanto or finnish)

    link to original:

    btw. I just read in Deseret news that martina wants to skate a 10K in Calgary - that’s the spirit & addiction)

  2. All I can say about that footage is WOW!
    I don’t do ice, yet, but that makes me want to put on my inlines and go outdoors and skate for a few miles..smooth & flying..

  3. Hey Andrew,

    Very cool. I saw you with your camera on the ice and wondered what you were up to. I bet filming while skating is an experience in itself. Good job. I love it.

  4. Jules,

    Thank you for sharing Martina’s story. She is a very impressive skater. If I understand correctly, she has been training with Novak since she was 10 years old. That is amazing. Here in America, skaters can hardly expect to have the same coach from one season to the next.

    I think Martina’s success shows how much a coach can do on a small budget, if he knows what he is doing, cares about his athletes, and believes in them. Novak understood that there was more to Martina’s speedskating potential than pure genetic talent, and he saw that her attitude and willingness to work hard were also very important. Here in USSPEEDSKATING, I’ve felt that “wanting it” has been so devalued that it is almost mocked.

    I’m wondering what Tom Cushman thought when he saw Martina racing last weekend? Wishing he had that kind of talent to work with? Are you kidding? What do you think Maria Lamb is, and why do you think she skates 4:16 right now, because she suddenly “lost her talent?” I don’t think so.

    Novak says that for 5 years, Martina suffered hard for no results. Who in USS would have that kind of patience for athlete development?

    In America, we’ve seen isolated flashes of the kind of brilliance it takes to develop such athletes. It doesn’t take a huge budget; look at what Nancy Swider-Peltz was able to do in just a few seasons with her own daughter and Maggie Crowley with no help from USSPEEDSKATING. Can you imagine what could be done if all the best female speedskaters in the USA could train together for several years, under a coach who truly knows what he or she is doing?

    I think these ladies can be medal contenders in Vancouver if they work together, but they’ll have a much harder time doing it training in isolation and spread across North America.

  5. I loved the movie ‘Following Keith’. Speed skating looks so smooth and so easy (Well, I know it is not).
    Thank for sharing this

  6. Yes it is smooth an easy.

    Maybe only a few magic days each season - but that’s the feeling you go through all the other aggravation to enjoy…and it’s worth it.

  7. 1- how the heck do you hold the camera?
    2- “I’m not an all arounder?” ???

  8. I hold the camera very carefully!!!

    (and I have done this a number of times, so I have figured out a way to do it and not crash, I did crash once.. )

    the comment is that pure sprinters like myself are not good at multiple fast laps, hence my heavy breathing (also, skating with the camera is tense, not flowing, and hard). ”

    All-around” skaters like Keith, can do just about everything well..

  9. You are a previous cyclist/inliner come on!! ;)

  10. I liked the “I’m not an allrounder” part - I thought that was funny :) Really, I liked that whole video…what a good idea!

  11. Thank you so much for your wonderful videos, Andrew!
    I did copy the whole bunch to my pc!, and late nights i watch them during the season, that i practise on my technique iceskating!
    This example of keith, i watched at least 50 times, and has encouraged me greatly! He is so relaxed and masters his technique very well!
    Marty is also so a well masterly skater, the erfurtvid, with the funnysuit, is amazing!
    I LOve you guys!
    Very tasteful use of music too!
    perhaps make one with chris isaac in the future, with lie to me, or don,t wanna fall in love! Or erica badu whatever!
    best wishes and many thanks from holland.

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