Speed skating doesn't rate much coverage in the American Press, but it attracts plenty of enthusiasts.
Speed skating doesn't rate much coverage in the American Press, but it attracts plenty of enthusiasts. On Monday (7 January) a large number of youngsters from three mid-Western states turned out for a speed-skating meeting at a suburb west of Chicago, in spite of brutally cold weather.
Only a few Olympic-style outdoor tracks exist in the United States, but the rough ice of a park lagoon served the purpose. United States competitors did well at the last Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan, with two teenage girls bringing home gold medals. One has since retired, but the other has taken up coaching in Maddison, Wisconsin.
A club team from the neighbouring state of Illinois won the match in West Chicago. Because of their success, other clubs are stepping up their efforts, but it's not easy to produce winners. Good training is available in the United States and speed skating enthusiasts are now trying to duplicate the training methods used so successfully by their European counterparts. Olympic champions have emerged. The trainers hope to produce many more Olympic champions in the future.
SYNOPSIS: The rough ice of a park lagoon in a suburb of Chicago does not provide an arena of Olympic standards, but it was enough to attract a large number of speed skating enthusiasts on Monday.
Teams from three mid-Western states turned out for the meeting.
Speed skating does not rate much attention as a sport in the United States, but Americans proved at the last Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan, that they could hold their own. Two teenage girls brought home gold medals.
One of the gold medallists has since retired, but the other has become a coach in Maddison, Wisconsin.
One of the most successful clubs in this area, from Illinois, won this match. A number of other clubs have stepped up their training efforts to compete, but although there is good training available, it's not easy to produce winners.
Now, however, the United States has begun copying their European counterparts' training methods, and more future Olympic champions may well emerge.