Short Track Speedskating season 2012/13 is underway!

October 25, 2012

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Well, the first qualifying U.S. competition has come and gone, and the U.S. Team made a great showing at their first World Cup. On to Montreal!

Photo from US Speedskating. Anthony Barthell, Tamara Sirota Castellano, Travis Jayner, Emily Scott, Alyson Dudek, Kyle Carr, Jeff Simon, Chris Creveling, John-Henry Krueger, Nicole Detling and Jessica Smith.

The U.S. Team and brief recap:
MEN
J.R. Celski –Gold, Bronze
Chris Creveling
Kyle Carr
Jeff Simon
Travis Jayner
John Henry Krueger- Bronze


LADIES

Jessica Smith
Sarah Chen
Lana Gehring
Emily Scott
Alyson Dudek
Tamara Fredericks

Internationally, ‘Victor’ Ahn for Team Russia is making a real comeback, Team Russia as a whole is proving themselves to be a force to be reckoned with, and Team Korea and Team Canada continue to dominate.

Congrats to J.R Celski and John Henry Krueger on their podium wins, and a special kudos to J.R. for his world record!
Welcome to Chris Creveling for making his first World Cup Team.

For the full story on ISU’s website:
http://www2.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/page/directory/0,10853,4844-205151-222374-nav-list,00.html?id=1159

For full results:
http://shorttrack.sportresult.com/Results.aspx?evt=11212100000011

J.R. Celski wins gold, and shatters a world record time in the process – skating a sub 40 time at 39.937.


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When it comes to the skaters, competitions and results, Lori usually has all this information covered on the Boots and Blades Forum.

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

As a result, reposting it here on the blog turned into little more than a time suck just to repost redundant information. So this is a good opportunity to ‘splain what the blog has become and where it stands at present in ‘The Rocker Fund Family of Products’.

Lori owns the Rocker U website and the Boots and Blades Forum. I own the Rocker Fund website and the blog. We do at times work together as a sort of loose tag team to accomplish common goals. We started with the websites, but as they are extremely time consuming to update, the move to a Forum and Blog format makes for much faster and easier postings of information and quicker dissemination throughout the web. The BB Forum is a perfect place to post a wide range of information on a variety of topics, as the format allows for a great deal of organization for posts, including individual areas for every skater, competitions, news and verbal discourse.

As a result, the blog has more or less turned into more of an editorial area. They are for the most part, my opinions, and may, or may not reflect those of Lori, fans, the skating community at large or the Boots and Blades Forum in general. Blog formats allows for more in depth musings that I may not want to take up space on the BB Forum just for my random brain firings, or I’m about to sharpen my poison pen for some real snark, or I have something to say on a subject that would be a bit more controversial for BB. (BB’s ‘mission statement’ if you will, was first and foremost, to support the skaters, ALL of the skaters. Lori works very hard to keep the voice of the site neutral, as it should be). As this site is more for editorial purposes, I feel the need for no such restraint here, and therefor, I’m willing to go out on a limb from time to time. As I’ve said before, my blog, my rules. I’ve at times gotten notes from those who disagree with my posts. Fair enough. There is a comments section, feel free to rebut it. Come armed with some FACTS. You won’t get far in changing my mind (and therefor editing the blog) if all you’ve got is ‘I don’t agree and I don’t like your post’. Past that, my point is, I do want to make it clear, that a post here does not necessarily mean that Lori or the whole of ‘The Rocker Fund Family of Products’ should be blamed.

And with that…stay tuned for some coming ‘snark’…

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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


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!


Crash propels Jeff Simon to short track victory

December 30, 2010

By Amy Donaldson, Deseret News
Published: Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 11:45 p.m. MST

To see more photos and articles, go here:
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700093309/Crash-propels-Jeff-Simon-to-short-track-victory.html?pg=1

Jeff Simon skates past Simon Cho from the outside in the Men’s 1000 meter event for the 2010 U.S. Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns on Sunday. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

KEARNS — Simon Cho was 70 points ahead going into the final race of the U.S. Championships Sunday afternoon.

And then, as it often does in short track speed skating, a mistake by one athlete cost him the race. Ryan Bedford, who was disqualified after the race, caused a collision between himself and two other competitors. Jeff Simon narrowly avoided the crash that sent two skaters into the pads, but Cho fell because of it.
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After pulling away from the pack, Katherine Reutter skates alone in the women’s 3000 meter event at the 2010 U.S. Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns on Sunday.
Mike Terry, Deseret News

“It happens in short track,” Cho said with a shrug. “The real battle was between me and Jeff.”

So Cho’s plan was to watch Simon and plan his strategy around Simon’s moves. And then the collision happened right in front of him, causing him to wreck as well.

“There was a split second where I thought I had cleared it,” said Cho, who made the World Cup team and finished second behind Simon in the standings. “But unfortunately, three guys fall in front of you, there is not much room to maneuver.”

For Simon his first National Championship was sweeter after a disappointing — and painful — year. He narrowly missed making the 2010 Olympic Team and then he broke his back when another skater pushed him and he crashed into the wall surrounding the ice.

“I honestly just wanted to get those points,” he said of the final race in which Cho crashed, the 3,000-meter race. Simon finished fourth, while Cho was seventh. He felt for Cho getting tangled in the crash, but knew all he had to do was stay on his feet to earn the U.S. title.

“I just had to finish,” he said. “Now I just want to continue this momentum. I’m very pleased, very happy.”

To be the national champion after 11 weeks in a back brace and missing out on three months of training is just the kind of vindication Simon was hoping for this weekend.

“I’m exhausted from racing,” he said, “from pushing my body to its limit. I had to dig pretty deep.”

Simon and Cho are friends off the ice and said they enjoyed battling it out physically and intellectually.

“You only get smart by playing smarter,” said Simon. Cho was happy to see Simon win the title after a tough year, and took the fall in stride.

“I felt like I was at the top of my game,” he said. “It all came down to that last race. Falls like that happen all the time in short track. Every athlete just has to take it in stride.”

On the women’s side, Katherine Reutter continued her dominance with a win in both the 1,000-meter race and 3,000-meter contest. She put on a show in the 3,000-meter race when she took off nine laps into the race and eventually lapped the pack. She hung near the back of the group for the remainder of the race, finishing a full lap ahead of second place.


Jonathan Garcia skates to a first place finish in the men’s 3000 meter event in the 2010 U.S. Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearnon Sunday. (Mike Terry, Deseret News)

Watch the Men’s 3000m wild ride here on Tony Chung’s shorttrackhd: (and don’t forget to donate!)
http://www.shorttrackhd.com/USChamps3kA.html

Read the rest of this entry »


US Short Track Speedskating Championships 2010

December 20, 2010

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Sunday’s Results

Congratulations to both Jeff Simon and Katherine Reutter on winning the National Title. You Rock!

Congrats to Sarah Chen and Jonathan Garcia for making the National Team for the first time. (my understanding is that the 5th spot is discretionary on the part of the coaches)

Congrats to the other skaters that made the National Team:
Simon Cho, Travis Jayner, Anthony Lobello, Lana Gehring, Jessica Smith and Emily Scott.

Quick recoveries to Aly Dudek and Landon Hatfield. (Landon, that was mighty scary. Glad you’re OK)

OVERALL STANDINGS

LADIES

Katherine Reutter
Lana Gehring
Jessica Smith
Emily Scott
Sarah Chen

Alyson Dudek
Allison Baver
Morgan Izykowski
Kimberly Derrick
Cherise Wilkins
Katherine Ralston
Brittany Salmon
Tamara Frederick
Rachel Skrocki
Kendal Pumphrey
Erin Bartlett

MEN

Jeff Simon
Simon Cho
Travis Jayner
Anthony Lobello
Jonathan Garcia

Kyle Carr
Kyle Uyehara
Ryan Bedford
John Henry Krueger
Robert Lawrence
Levi Kirkpatrick
Chris Creveling
Cole Krueger
Adam Callister
James Rodowsky
Micheal Burdekin

LADIES 1000M A FINAL

1 220 Katherine Reutter 1:33.350
2 204 Lana Gehring 1:33.464
3 216 Jessica Smith 1:33.542
4 218 Emily Scott 1:33.746

MEN’S 1000M A FINAL

1 300 Jeff Simon 1:26.688
2 297 Simon Cho 1:26.998
3 248 Jonathan Garcia 1:28.924
PEN 241 Travis Jayner

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The men’s 3000m was a wild ride, and if I could find results anywhere for either the ladies or men, I’d post ’em. Kyle Carr, Simon Cho, Travis Jayner and Ryan Bedford all took a tumble, leaving the door open for Anthony Lobello and two other skaters (Jonathan Garcia and Kyle Uyehara perhaps?)

This apparently isn’t for points, but it would be nice to give the skaters who did this grueling long distance race their due.

Just sayin’…

For more results, go here to the USS site:
http://usspeedskating.org/

Anyway…Congrats to all the skaters wherever they placed. Watching you skate is always a thrill. Safe travels to all, and to all, a Happy Holiday Season with your family and friends.


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