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  • CANOE NAGANO '98 ISP DIRECTORY

  • canada sked medal results SLAM!  NAGANO

    Saturday, January 3, 1998

    American speedskaters rebuilding after glory of Jansen and Blair

     WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- No Bonnie Blair. No Dan Jansen.
     Does that mean there's no hope for the U.S. long-track speedskating team at the Nagano Olympics?
     "We don't have any Dan Jansens or Bonnie Blairs -- yet," said Marc Pelchat, one of the skaters competing Saturday during the second weekend of the Olympic trials at the Pettit National Ice Center on the outskirts of Milwaukee. "But we'll see what happens come February."
     A younger and less-experienced team, with no Olympic medals to its credit, will head to Japan next month hoping to carry on America's speedskating tradition. Instead of Jansen and Blair, the top contenders this time are names like Chris Witty, KC Boutiette and Casey FitzRandolph.
     They might not return with any gold medals, but David Cruikshank, who has competed in the last two Olympics and now is married to Blair, feels the team that will be finalized by Monday has much greater depth than those in the past.
     "I thought going into the trials this would be one of my hardest teams to make," said Cruikshank, who has qualified at 500 meters. "Before, it was more of Bonnie and Dan at the top and then maybe it fell off from there. Now, there's a bunch of medal contenders in a bunch of different events, for men and women. I think that's great for U.S. speedskating, and I see it only continuing to get better as we progress into the 2002 Salt Lake City Games."
     Most of the American team was picked in the first round of trials last weekend. Two more skaters qualified Saturday -- FitzRandolph and Moira D'Andrea made the 1,500-member team after their times from the first weekend were unsurpassed in the second round of qualifying.
     On an unseasonably warm and humid winter day in Wisconsin, the ice at the country's only indoor speedskating rink was much slower than a week earlier.
     Gerard Kemkers, the American all-around coach, realizes that his young team will be hard-pressed to match the accomplishments of Blair and Jansen.
     Blair won fivegold medals and a bronze over three Olympiads, while Jansen captured the attention of the American public during a career tinged with tragedy and disappointment before he won gold at Lillehammer in his final Olympic race.
     "Bonnie and D.J. were probably the best thing that could have happened to U.S. speedskating," Kemkers said. "They were America's sweethearts and did so much good for the sport. But they quit. Their time is over. It's time to move on with our organization."
     Kemkers isn't expecting a bunch of gold medals at Nagano. Instead, he hopes to establish a base from which the next Jansen or Blair can emerge for the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.
     Though speedskating isn't a major sport in the United States, the country has always managed to produce some of the sport's biggest stars, such as Eric Heiden, who won five gold medals at Lake Placid in 1980. This year, though, could turn out to be like 1984, when the Americans followed up Heiden's unprecedented performance by getting shut out of the speedskating medals for only the second time.
     "It's nothing we haven't seen before," FitzRandolph said. "It's just the start of a new era. There was the Bonnie and D.J. era. Before that, there was the Heiden era. We always seem, despite our lack of numbers, to have some pretty good skaters coming along."
     
     
     U.S. Long-Track Speedskating Team
     MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The U.S. Olympic long-track speedskating team, as of Jan. 3:
     Men
     500 Meters (four spots available)
     Cory Carpenter, Brookfield, Wis.
     Dave Cruikshank, Northbrook, Ill.
     Casey FitzRandolph, Verona, Wis.
     1,000 Meters (four spots available)
     KC Boutiette, Tacoma, Wash.
     Cory Carpenter, Brookfield, Wis.
     Nathaniel Mills, Washington, D.C.
     1,500 Meters (four spots available)
     KC Boutiette, Tacoma, Wash.
     Cory Carpenter, Brookfield, Wis.
     Casey FitzRandolph, Verona, Wis.
     Dave Tamburrino, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
     5,000 Meters (three spots available)
     KC Boutiette, Tacoma, Wash.
     Derek Parra, San Bernardino, Calif.
     Dave Tamburrino, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
     NOTE: Boutiette is assured of skating in Nagano; Parra and Tamburrino will skate if their times are fast enough in the World Cup rankings.
     10,000 Meters (three spots available)
     None yet determined
     ------
     WOMEN
     500 Meters (four spots available)
     Moria D'Andrea, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
     Becky Sundstrom, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
     Chris Witty, West Allis, Wis.
     1,000 Meters (four spots available)
     Moria D'Andrea, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
     Becky Sundstrom, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
     Chris Witty, West Allis, Wis.
     1,500 Meters (four spots available)
     Moria D'Andrea, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
     Jennifer Rodriguez, Miami, Fla.
     Becky Sundstrom, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
     Chris Witty, West Allis, Wis.
     3,000 Meters (three spots available)
     Kirstin Holum, Waukesha, Wis.
     Catherine Raney, Elm Grove, Wis.
     Jennifer Rodriguez, Miami, Fla.
     NOTE: Holum is assured of skating in Nagano; Raney and Rodriguez will skate if their times are fast enough in the World Cup rankings.
     5,000 Meters (three spots available)
     None yet determined