Meet APTE: Athletes for a Positive Training Environment

September 18, 2012

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The skaters have been hinting that they had something in the works so that fans could show their support. Well, here it is. APTE: Athletes for a Positive Training Environment.

https://www.facebook.com/4APTE

I haven’t had a chance to look through the entire site yet, but you can leave comments, encouragement AND – this is a biggiethere is information on how you can make donations directly to the skaters!

The Speedskating Program has always been severely underfunded. Even more distressing is that the majority of the money you send to most non profit entities rarely trickles down to the people you thought you were trying to help in the first place. Administrative costs more often than not eat up the bulk of donations. Now you can cut out the middleman entirely and know for certain that your donation to APTE will be going directly to the skaters.
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Lack of funding and funding misrepresentation are issues that are part of the skaters complaints against USS. If you haven’t read the list of the skaters grievances, you can go here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/acrobat/2012-09/133629640-14134437.pdf

On page 10 is one of the allegations that relates to this issue.
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To be honest, when I read the following blog post on USS’s site, I thought it was infinitely worse, to the point that I almost whipped off a blog post of my own under the category of ‘How could you!!! Have you no shame?!!!’.
http://skateleft.com/2012/07/

It was by far and away one of the most flagrant and egregious misrepresentations to pander for donations I have ever seen. The insinuation that your donation would somehow be helping the skaters with some of these basic expenses would be laughable if it wasn’t so criminal. How many times have skaters been told they had to pay their own way to an international competition after being selected for a World Cup team? That, next to coaching, is the one thing USS should be paying for above all else. If they can’t even manage that, then it’s rather obvious that they won’t be helping the skaters with much of anything else on the aforementioned laundry list of expenses.

Tugging on heart strings, appealing to your sense of patriotism and your sincere desire to help, that’s how non profits operate. If you still want to make donations to them, so be it.
But before you do, first make a donation directly to a skater you truly want and intend to help in the first place.

http://gofundme.com/4APTE

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U.S. Short Track Skaters Take a Stand

September 15, 2012

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Quote of the Day:
“Whatever hits the fan will not be distributed evenly…”

I’m sure this situation will prove to be no different.
Good. And it’s about time.

Today, both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Chicago Tribune have posted news items about allegations made by the skaters who are part of the U.S. Short Track Team.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/54898027-77/athletes-chun-federation-skaters.html.csp
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-us-short-track-skaters-charge-head-coach-with-abuse-20120914,0,2764376.story
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I won’t lie and say I’m surprised. In fact, I’ve often wondered why it took the athletes so long to fight back. I understand though. I’m sure it’s like a bunch of little Davids going up against that Goliath guy. A LOT of those Goliath guys.
U.S.S. has always had all the power, and the athletes had very little choice but to suck it up and deal with it if they wanted any chance of being on an Olympic Team. Unfair, surely. Fans have always known there were issues – the athletes are severely underfunded. But I doubt we knew it extended to this level of abuse.

Quote of the Day #2:
“The definition of Stress: When your mind overrules your body’s intense desire to beat the crap out of someone who desperately deserves it”

I’ve worked for abusive bosses. I know how it feels. I also know that it is completely counter-productive. Any extra blood you may squeeze out of that turnip by doing so is extremely short lived. It quickly turns to resentment, and you will NOT be getting anyone’s best work. Their mind isn’t on doing their job, (in this case, skating their best) it’s on their all consuming anger and trying to keep every muscle in their body from taking the abuser out back and giving them a much needed case of ‘whoop-ass’. That’s if you’ve got any degree of chutzpah. For others with less, it just beats them down so low that they have a hard time even getting back up again. Either way, it’s pointless and unnecessary and doesn’t get anything positive out of anyone. To quote one of my own fathers ‘dad-isms’:
“You can choose to be a good manager. Or you can choose just to be an asshole with a title”.

To USS. Choose better coaches. Resorting to this sort of behavior is for those who aren’t good enough to get results by any other means.

On a more positive note, many of our skaters are now training with the program coached by former Rocker Fund skater Anthony Barthell (we’re SO proud of you Anthony!) and Olympic Bronze medalist Alex ‘Izy’ Izykowski. Good on ya boys! May you and the skaters have a GREAT season. We’re cheering you all the way!
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“Obviously, we take this very seriously,” said Tamara Castellano, a spokeswoman for U.S. Speedskating. “Our product is our athletes. If we don’t have them, we don’t have anything.”

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…umm, excuse me a moment…*sputter *choke* cough*…
…BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!
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…not to put too fine a point on it, but even we fans know this is complete and utter B.S.- but hey, thanks for trying to insult our intelligence. The entities involved believe skaters merely exist to support USS, the USOC, the IOC…you name it – not the other way around. It has always been thus. There’s a lot of people with their fingers in that Olympic Sports Pie making a HUGE amount of money off of these athletes, while the athletes themselves struggle.

Our impression of USS is of a giant, voracious sawmill, and the skaters are just logs they pass through the blade to build their house of cards, turning them into sawdust in the process.

That impression was reinforced by reading Eva Rodansky’s book ‘Winter of Discontent’…and reading it again. There were so many revelations in it, that the thoughts were literally ricocheting around my brain like overactive, runaway pachinko balls. Point after point of things we suspected all along, but didn’t have any proof of – until now.

I wanted to write about this ages ago, but was asked to keep it on the down low. I obliged. Now that the cat IS out of the bag, I feel no need to keep quiet about the many issues the skaters had – and continue to have with the powers that be.
If you’re a fan of short track, please read her book. It’s a real eye opener. (sadly, it is no longer available as an e book on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Ya snooze, ya lose…maybe you should all call en-mass and request it back on the e book list)

The skaters, and our impression of USS, was a big reason why we started The Rocker Fund…and all the other periphery items like this blog that grew out of that.
Let me take a moment to give you a little TRF short track fan history.

Many of us started our Short Track obsession on the GotApolo forum. Lori Robinson managed to get many of us to commit to meeting for our first short track competition (US Championships) live and in the flesh in Salt Lake City- even though none of us had ever met before. (By the way, my parents thought I was absolutely INSANE to roomie with someone I didn’t know and were thoroughly convinced that Lori was a possible axe murderer…but I digress…)

Anyway, No small feat pulling that off. As Lori will tell you, it’s like herding cats. She did a lot of planning and networking to get us all to that first get together, and it was a smashing success. We had an absolute blast. (I’m happy to report I came home in one piece, no axes in sight. Lori DID however, try to kill me doing the Grouse Grind on a different ST trip, but that’s another story…)

Certainly the parents of the skaters were very warm and welcoming. No doubt excited that somebody other than themselves actually gave a sh*t about watching their kids skate. More often than not the skaters themselves were absolutely stunned that anyone even knew who they were let alone were actual fans of them -which is probably why we adore them so. We may have started as Apolo fans…but we didn’t stay there long. We became fans of ALL the skaters, which certainly made for some interesting cheering. “Come On Ya’all” became a common yell when the lineup was full of favorites. Who do you cheer for? Well – All Ya’all.

At the World Cup in Salt Lake a month or two later, we decided to do it again. Gone were the options of VIP tickets, which we were more than willing to pay for. We mere fans didn’t qualify. So we decided to pool all that money we would have spent anyway and give it to a struggling skater. But how to go about it?

USS was approached and we were told “just give the money to us and we’ll take care of it…”

ppfffft! Yeah, right. I’m sorry, we only look stupid. Feeling fairly certain that said starving skater would never see a dime, we decided to give the money directly…but then that whole ‘herding cats’ thing came into play, and no one could agree on which skater to give it to. More importantly, we weren’t even sure if the skaters wanted our help. Which got us thinking…and well, long story short, The Rocker Fund was born.

Looking back on it now, I don’t regret being involved with it even though it had its headaches and ultimately ran its course. I would say on my part I was certainly naive on what I was getting myself into. I still think it’s a good cause, now more than ever. Our Short Track athletes need our support – financially and emotionally.

I’ll hazard a bit of hubris here in making a blanket statement on behalf of all the fans.

Suck it, USS. We stand with the skaters.


American Cup 1 2011. The results are in…

October 3, 2011

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The first competition of the season for the U.S. Skaters is in the books, and the U.S. Team for the upcoming World Cups has been chosen.

For full results and points, you can go to Tony Chung’s spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkKaRsNHioRqdEFfUGZtZDhpb2l1aEdvYnRrTF9RTWc&hl=en_US#gid=25

The following results are from US Speedskatings site. The top 4 skaters were automatic team members, with two additional discretionary picks by the coaches. Here’s how it shakes out:

World Cup #1 – Salt Lake City, USA (October 21-23)

Ladies:

Lana Gehring (Glenview, IL)

Alyson Dudek (Hales Corners, WI)

Katherine Reutter (Champaign, IL)

Jessica Smith (Melvindale, MI)

Emily Scott (Springfield, MO)

Sarah Chen (San Marino, CA)

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Men:

J.R. Celski (Federal Way, WA)

Kyle Carr (Peachtree City, GA)

Jordan Malone (Denton, TX)

Jonathan Garcia (Houston, TX)

John-Henry Krueger (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kyle Uyehara (Lakewood, CA)

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World Cup #3 – Nagoya, JPN, (December 2-4)

World Cup #4 Shanghai, CHN, (December 9-11)

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Ladies:

Lana Gehring (Glenview, IL)

Alyson Dudek (Hales Corners, WI)

Katherine Reutter (Champaign, IL)

Jessica Smith (Melvindale, MI)

Emily Scott (Springfield, MO)

Tamara Fredericks (Park Ridge, IL)

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Men:

J.R. Celski (Federal Way, WA)

Kyle Carr (Peachtree City, GA)

Jordan Malone (Denton, TX)

Jonathan Garcia (Houston, TX)

Simon Cho (Laurel, MD)

Travis Jayner (Midland, MI)

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* Team USA will not be competing in World Cup #2 (October 28-30) in Saguenay, CAN
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It’s wonderful to see Travis Jayner is on the second leg of the World Cups. He had to scratch today due to a fall that was accompanied by a concussion. We love Tony’s live feeds, but we HATE seeing the skaters injured. We’re so glad you’re OK Travis!

Congratulations to all the skaters!

And Thank You Tony Chung for the live feed. We’d be lost without you. To donate to Tony for bringing us all ACTUAL MOVING PICTURES, go to the following link:
http://www.shorttrackhd.com/Donation.html
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On a side note: This season started out with quite a few skaters greatly missed. Jeff Simon, Simon Cho, Morgan Izykowski, and Anthony Lobello. Simon Cho has been on the mend and the coaches must think enough of him to give him a spot on the World Cup 3 and 4 Team despite not being able to compete. Anthony is finishing his school obligations. Good for you Anthony. Get the parchment and then concentrate on getting some GOLD.

I’m a bit sad Kimberly Derrick didn’t make the team, but it does give some other gals some experience. As a fan, we have a warm spot in our hearts for certain skaters and Kimberly is one of them. We’re heartbroken for them when they don’t fare well, even though we know there are only so many spots, and everyone can’t make a team. Kimberly’s concentrating on school too the last I heard and I’m sure a lot of her energy is going into that. Hang in there Berly.

Fellow Olympic Team Member Allison Baver was also MIA. She announced on her FB page that she’s decided to train for another Olympics, but seeing as she wasn’t at this competition, perhaps she has decided to continue giving long track a go.

The best of luck to all of you.
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To check out the rest of the news, see the links to the right for US Speedskating, the Boots and Blades Forum, Bella Faccie photography and Tony Chung- Short Track HD.


Let’s get ready to R-u-m-m-m-b-b-b-l-l-l-l-l-e

October 1, 2011

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OK, wrong sport…but you get the idea. The U.S. short track season gets under way tomorrow at the Hardees Iceplex in St Louis…(and I have to work – bummer)

But YOU can watch Tony Chung’s live stream. (Don’t forget to toss a few bucks his way to say Thanks! Otherwise, you’d be sitting at home with no way of knowing WHAT was going on unless you had some inside connections at the rink)

Here’s the link to the live feed:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/shorttrackhd

…and don’t forget the tweets…
http://twitter.com/#!/shorttrackHD

Check out here to see who is entered:
https://webpoint.usspeedskating.org/wp/Events/ViewMeet.asp?EventID=1917&isPopup=true&Template=Event+Entries

To the fans in St Louis, have fun!
To the skaters, SKATE GREAT!


US Championships Update…and Other Stuff…

December 21, 2010

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More Kudos today for Morgan Izykowski and Kyle Uyehara as the coaches pick for the last spot on the National Team. Congratulations to both of you!

OK, here’s the info on the 3000m I couldn’t find yesterday. (Thank You Tony Chung…more on him later)

LADIES 3000M A FINAL

Katherine Reutter
Lana Gehring
Jessica Smith
Emily Scott
Allison Baver
Morgan Izykowski
Sarah Chen
Alyson Dudek (PEN)

LADIES 3000M B FINAL

Kendal Pumphrey
Tamara Frederick
Brittany Salmon
Rachel Skrocki
Cherise Wilkins
Erin Bartlett
Kimberly Derrick (PEN)
Katherine Ralston (PEN)

MEN’S 3000M A FINAL

Jonathan Garcia
Anthony Lobello
Kyle Uyehara
Jeff Simon
Travis Jayner
Kyle Carr
Simon Cho
Ryan Bedford (PEN)

MEN’S 3000M B FINAL

John Henry Krueger
Cole Krueger
Adam Callister
Levi Kirkpatrick
Michael Burdekin
James Rodowsky
Robert Lawrence
Chris Creveling (DNS)

(Chris C, if you DNS due to injury and I missed it, please accept my apology in not wishing you a speedy recovery with the other skaters! Heal fast and heal well! And to any skaters I may have missed on that account… you do the same!

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But on to other news….

Tony Chung has been great on keeping us unfortunate souls who can’t make it to the competitions updated with tweets and WOW! …can you imagine???…VIDEO! Actual live moving pictures!

But that costs money.
Lest Tony think we don’t appreciate, love and adore him, please go to his site and donate whatever you can to keep these little pieces of heaven available to us.

Thank you Tony!

And here’s the link (FYI- note that Internet ‘Exploder’…er, I mean Explorer, is testy with this page, so I recommend you choose a different browser when accessing it):
http://www.shorttrackhd.com/Donation.html

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ALSO: Anthony Lobello made another National Team, and his friends set up a donation page for him.

Here’s the link so you can help Anthony keep doing that thing he does:
http://www.goforgoldlobello.com/
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…and Anthony, you might want to get this link set up permanently on your Facebook page…(or gasp!)…consider attaching a fanpage there too! It’s super easy – and free! (Hey, just sayin’…)

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AND…you can go to the Boots and Blades Forum for more info on this weekends races and information on all the skaters.
(…for which the link isn’t working for me at the moment…must be a proboards thing…)

http://therockerforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?

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…AND…just one more thing.

Jordan Malone, wherever you are – We Miss You!!!


J.R. Celski is M.A.D. Northwest

August 9, 2010

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J.R. MAD?

Yup, that’s M.A.D. …as in – Music – Art – Dance.

Last I heard, J.R. was taking some time off from short track speedskating and would soon be making his way to attend UC Berkeley.

But as John Lennon so wisely said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”

So True…and so it has for J.R.

M.A.D. Northwest is J.R.’s personal project to bring attention to the arts in his beloved Seattle.

Show your support (as per Jordan Malone to help ‘junior’, LOL) and join his fanpage on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/MAD-Northwest/135856759782864

Go directly to the M.A.D. Northwest website to see what it’s all about:
http://madnw.org/

And click on the photo below to read up at US Speedskating/USA.org
on how serendipity brought J.R. to this place in time:

And you can also read even more and see oodles of photos of J.R. on the Boots & Blades Forum too:

http://therockerforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=tsl&action=display&thread=102&page=14

Great Idea J.R. Wishing you every success with this endeavor!


Jordan Malone needs your help

March 30, 2010

Jordan has just been absolutely awesome to his fans. Go to the link below and join Jordan’s fan page on Facebook. There you will not only be kept up to date on what’s going on in Jordan’s life, but you’ll be treated to some incredible videos from his Olympic experience plus some live feed webcast Q & A sessions on Ustream.tv (The heads up for these sessions usually alert you via his FB fanpage)

Here’s the Ustream.tv link:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/go-ahead-ask-me

Here’s the word from Jordan:

ALRIGHT FRIENDS AND FANS!!! Here’s the favor. I’ve tried to be great to my fans =] Now I need your help. Help spread the world!!! I need more fans and followers. Tell everyone and help my get my numbers up =] THIS WOULD BE THE BIGGEST HELP FOR ME. Thanks everyone!! ~ Jordan Malone

Here’s the link to his Facebook Fanpage:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jordan-Malone/299084645151?ref=nf

BECOME A FAN!


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