The 2010 Winter Olympic games Opening Ceremony is now less than two weeks from now, so its time for a bunch of newsbits and miscellaneous.
I like the video from the Verizon ad with the outdoor skating oval, which looks to have been filmed on natural ice cleared of snow. Surfing YouTube turns up several cool videos on US Speedskating's video channel.
Found a link on CNN's website of the top 15 USA Winter Olympic moments; and I noticed that 5 of the 15 were from speed skating: Charles Jewtraw (1924), Jack Shea (1932), Dan Jansen (1994), Bonnie Blair (1994), and Eric Heiden (1980). Pretty impressive list, and after 2010, there could likely be a Shani Davis "moment" on this list (if not the 2006 gold medal), and maybe an Apolo Ohno moment as well--although I might put Ohno's gold medal in the 500m at the 2006 games to represent his career. But perhaps the best moments are not about gold medal counts for a country, but as the filmmaker Bud Greenspan might say, instead "stories that resonate", and speak to a universal experience--or note the Visa "Go World" television ads, or better yet, listen to the joyous exclamation by the Norwegian television broadcasters in this clip from Dan Jansen's 1994 race in Lillehammer.
Show your support for Team USA's speed skating team in a number of ways...donate through Colbert Nation or US Speedskating. Or to individual athletes such as short track World Cup medalist Katherine Reutter, who is raising funds for her family to attend the games by selling a nifty sweatshirt.
Finally, today was the Alternative Elfstedentocht, held on an alpine lake near Innsbruck, Austria. Jorritt Bergsma won the 200km men's race in 5 hours 27 minutes and 7 seconds. Interestingly, Jorritt, a Dutchman who has a Kazakh passport, passed up an opportunity to skate in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver to skate in the Alternative Elfstedentocht. On a personal note, I'd thought of entering into one of the Weissensee skate week events this year as I left off cycling season with a high level of fitness and my training transitioned into skating pretty well in October, but other aspects of my life intruded too much into my training and my end result would have been a "just finish it" effort, which I've done in previous marathon skates--I had hoped to truly "race" this time, not among the leaders but to race at a much faster pace than I've done before.
Editor - Jim
This blog weighs in on topics such as long-distance skating, the Illinois canals, cycling, and a variety of related (and occasionally not-so-related) topics. I'd like to correspond with others interested in skating the Hennepin and I&M canals.