I would have toasted with the old beer ad slogan, "This Bud's for you", but since there was that trademark dispute between Budweiser and Budvar in the Czech Republic, I changed the slogan / toast. And more important, Martina Sablikova grew up training on a frozen pond according to press reports, and the Czech national championships were on natural ice. Check out this video, (or wait through some dialogue and watch this other video I found). Big congrats to Sablikova on a good Olympics so far...gold in the 3000m and bronze in the 1500m, with the 5000m yet to come. Gotta love a skater that has spent so much time on natural ice, or as the Dutch say, natuurijs.
Like everyone else, I was surprised by the Netherland's Mark Tuitert's gold in the 1500m, with Shani Davis getting a silver and Chad Hedrick finishing in 6th. Shani Davis won all 4 world cup 1000m events this season and 4 of 5 1500m events--the only time he didn't win the 1500m was to Hedrick, and Shani set a new world record in the last world cup 1500m. (Hedrick's bronze in the 1000m qualifies as a surprise as he was ranked 7th in the world cup results). Shani also skated 0.07 faster than his winning 1500m time at the March 2009 single distance championships held at the Richmond Olympic Oval. For this season so far, Tuitert was 5th in world cup points at the 1500m, but he didn't skate in the last event. His training may have peaked at the right time, and he was able to skate with abandon yet skate what was for him his own perfect race.
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.