Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Short update on my (Nancy Jr.) life...

Finals = done. The school year is officially over at Wheaton College and both Jeffrey and I survived, but just barely, lol. It was one tough semester for the two of us. Not just because we completely switched gears by jumping from training for the Olympic Trials to full-time students, but we enrolled ourselves in time-consuming, difficult classes. But though it was tough, the opportunities a student at Wheaton are priceless...and being in the out of Wheaton College as much as I have, being in the real world and then coming back to this community, has only made me realize Wheaton's worth even more. I absolutely love how as students, we can have meals with the professors, talk for hours with them after classes, be able to have meals at the dining hall (saga) with the greatest student body of Believers and share how the Lord is working in our lives, and then have to go to a Chapel service every other day. Not everyone likes having to go to chapel 3x a week, but I now greatly appreciate its value after being in a world that sucks life out of you...it's a time to be quiet, contemplative, and worship with the student body, something you don't ever have again once you leave Wheaton. Though it's been rough at times being in and out of Wheaton so many times (6 to be exact, haha!), I am thoroughly glad I have taken the super long route through college. And now I only have 1 more semester left...I will be graduating in December, walking commencement next May :) Never thought this time would come, lol.


http://www.northcoastcalvary.org
So now summer has officially begun, where my awesome summer plans are revealed. I am pumped to officially say that today starts the 1-week countdown til I head to Carlsbad, California next Tuesday, working with the North Coast Calvary Chapel for the whole summer! It's the 3rd summer this program has taken place, and I am proud to be following in the footsteps of two great friends from Wheaton College who've already done this program before me the last 2 summers: Keri Shannon and Chad Musgraves. It's a sports ministry internship (click for more info), using the universal love for sports as a platform to work with local ministries. These local mission programs include: KidsGames, EdgeGames, MaxCamps and International Sports Leadership Training (ISLT). I will also be interacting with local ministries, such as homeless, surfing, FCA, YoungLife, hospital chaplaincy, and military and urban. In addition, I will be joining a team from the church and sent on a two-week mission serving trip, visiting foreign missionaries associated with North Coast Calvary Chapel, to Egypt in August.

And that is going to be my summer. Crazy to think I will be gone for over 3 months, but super excited to be jumping into a passion of mine: sports ministry, something I have felt the Lord calling me to because of the opportunities I have already had: speaking about my Olympic experience in Speedskating and how my faith in Jesus Christ has played a larger role in my career. This summer will be a time to use skills I have already developed from previous experiences and perfect them with the mentoring I will receive working alongside the North Coast Calvary Chapel. For those wondering, I do receive a scholarship after the summer that goes towards my fall semester at Wheaton, but I still have to raise half of the budget laid out for this summer internship. Which is always a challenge, but a way to see the Lord work and provide for those who serve Him.

I don't know how much time I will have to devote to updating y'all on my summer via this blog, but I will try my best. The best way is always Instagram, where I am constantly posting pictures...and you can follow me on the link found on the right panel of this blog, or directly here: @NSwiderPeltzJr. As for speedskating, cause I know some people have been dying to know, I am not done yet. For now, I am focusing on finishing Wheaton College, but I will probably be jumping back into the world of speedskating come January 2015 :) 

Well...that was NOT a short update, lol, for those of you who know me, I actually don't think I ever do anything short, it's usually long. Long texts called novels, long embarrassing voicemails, long saga (dining hall at Wheaton College) "dates", long workouts, long conversations, long track speedskating (ha), long distance speedskating, etc. That's just how I roll I guess. haha.

God bless,
Nancy Jr.


| Be inspired by those around you | Discover Jesus Christ | Embrace the love people give you | Pursue your goals and passions in life | Take risks | Go on adventures | Learn to be vulnerable | Let yourself be embarrassed & uncomfortable | Have friends that are both much younger and older than you | Love others | Give | Contemplate and focus on what truly matters in your life | Live for Christ | 1 Corinthians 9:25 |

Monday, March 10, 2014

Yesterday, Brian Hansen set a track record and won the 1500 meter Inzell World Cup race by .7 seconds...wait wut, 7 tenths of a second!?!!

Hey guys! Nancy Jr's been holding down the fort here, posting all of the awesome updates and videos from Sochi that Nancy Sr. sent her during the Olympics. Definately took them both a lot of time to do! Meanwhile I've been super busy as a full-time student at Wheaton College, trying to knock out some class credits before I jump back into skating (hopefully) next season. But here's a little update on Brian racing in the second to last World Cup competition of the season March 7-9.

In short, Brian won gold in the 1500 meters, bronze in the 1000 meters and got 6th place in the non-Olympic mass start race. Impressive. But what's crazy is that Brian won the 1500 meters by a whopping .7 seconds over the other skaters including Zbigniew Brodka, Koen Werweij, and Denny Morrison who won gold, silver and bronze respectively at the Olympics in Sochi...ONLY ABOUT 2 WEEKS AGO. You hardly even see a gap like that unless it's Shani Davis out front (Davis finished 4th in the 1500 meters but won the 1000 meters on March 7).

Which brings one to question whether the US speedskating team has recovered from the colossal mess at the Olympics (a mess not because of the skaters themselves–because they skated their hearts out–but as a result of our speedskating organization's mistakes in the weeks leading up to the Olympics that affected the skaters' performances). And keep in mind that Inzell, Germany, is only slightly in altitude.

Here are the impressive results from Inzell. Heather Richardsen won both 500 meter races and the 1000 meters. Brittany Bowe got second in the 1000 meters and third in the 1500 meters. Shani won the men's 1000 meters and got 4th in the 1500 meters. Brian finished third in the 1000 meters and won the 1500 meters. In addition, five US male skaters finished top 17 in the 1000 meters (A group).

Weird right? If our US speedskaters performed this well before and after the Olympics–which they did, then what happened at the Olympics? If you read Nancy Sr.'s recent posts during the Olympics, then you have an idea of what she saw happen to the US speedskaters leading up to the Olympic Games. But right now I'll leave that to you to decide what or who is to blame.

Anyways, It's good to be back! And there might be some exciting things happening with our team in the not-too-distant future, but we're hashing those ideas out at the moment so stay tuned!

Here's a Chicago Trib article on Brian's win, below.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-09/sports/chi-brian-hansen-wins-world-cup-race-20140309_1_sochi-olga-fatkulina-nancy-swider-peltz

Also,

Below: Brians 1500 meter win from Sunday in Inzell, Germany. (Keep in mind that Havard Bokko, Brian's pair, beat him in the Olympics by a .11 seconds),





Below: And a look into how Brian's unique, race prep rituals in his hotel room might help him skate so darn fast (from October),





Monday, February 24, 2014

One last Blog Post from Nancy Sr. -its a wrap of Sochi2014

24 Feb 2014 -Nancy Sr.
After the Team Pursuit Saturday, I went by USA house to say
a few goodbyes. 
On the way out, the short track 5k relay guys
SILVER medalists 
(Creveling, Alvarez, Celski, & Malone)
were in their way in...

The closing ceremonies just ended less than 24 hours ago ago.
As you know if you've followed this, this isn't how I had expected this blog run to end :( I hadn't expected it to become an indictment of the organization, but I have no regrets for reporting as I called it. Change does not happen unless there is reason to change and the results here call for "no stone to be unturned" as the USOC's CEO Blackmun said.

This is when you accept a "spade is a spade", accept failure and turn it into success. 

But in the aftermath of this storm there seems to be an attempt by the USOC to say (http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1690122#bmb=1) it was "not a step back at all...The medals were more spread out this year, which is good for the Olympics". WHAT IS THAT TO MEAN...REALLY? If that statement couldn't have been made beforehand, which everyone knows would never have been an acceptable statement then, then why is it ok now?

He continued to say, "we weren't the only nation that got smoked by the Netherlands". 
Since when is it ok just because you're with the majority? Is that a fighting attitude? Is that how to view results that should not have happened?

It is a way to spin the facts and divert responsibility. A way to walk away and eliminate bad press. A great political move. But as you know I've been saying, just tell the truth, take responsibility, tell the athletes that it is the USOC and USS s job to lead effectively. And if the long track skaters performed so well in the fall it means they are capable again. And if they didn't, then the "just gettin smoked" is as much an organizational blunder as it could be the athletes'.
If the USOC is lending credit to the "smokin" abilities of the Dutch, they should also lend them credibility when the Dutch claim 2 reasons themselves for the US's failures:

  1. that Collabo was a contributing factor. And you know USS tried to quickly eliminate that claim when they falsely claimed the 2006 team had also done Collalbo and that justifies it (from a high per base?). As has already now been revealed, Chad Hedrick chose not to go there in 2006 and the girls team completely failed at the 2006 games again after having had great success in the fall.
  2. the Mach 39 suit characteristics had been tried already by the Dutch in 2006 and had failed. Where was our high performance team in investigating that one? 
And again, with such a sweeping general analysis of the USA team, you know it's not accurate and it is misleading. If you're going to create this team from a science perspective as is claimed, then pick it apart using scientific methods. And if that takes time, then don't throw misleading comments out to be devoured by the press/public. BUT that was the goal, to deflect the real issues.

So we'll wait and see if justice to the skaters will prevail.

Sorry, my last post was a bit confusing. I had wanted to get it all down before the games were over because the further away from immediacy, the less interesting. 

I came to these games with Brian to get the job done, and less than such a goal is not a satisfaction to me. Yet as I had discussed in an earlier post, after the 1000m, Brian had talked about the principle of the journey and the goal. He philosophized a lot that day and concluded that the journey needs to take a life of its own cause if it does end up as this has, then there needs to be some take away. And for us, that is the fun of the team and the life lessons I've tried so hard to instill (which I learned that from my father). 

We think we could have done a better job at both and should we all do this again, we have learned a few more lessons....(at a high cost)....
We just know we did the best we could this year within the limitations given to us.

Hope this Olympic blog showed the desire to push the envelope on the need to just be honest so that you never have to fear the truth...


Thank you all again so much for your comments and encouragement over these last weeks... :)

God bless,
Nancy Sr.

Videos: 

I said I few goodbyes at the USA house, but honestly I couldn't really stay/enjoy socializing. Simply speaking, in sport as it is also true in life, the harder you work or the more you sacrifice, the harder it is to accept anything less than the win/success. I could stay and talk, but it was loud and you can't carry on a conversation of depth which is all I would want to do, so I just kind a slipped out panned the scene so you could get a feel for the last night at the Olympics...



The USA Men's Team Pursuit on the ice together before they raced. Sochi Olympics, Russia. A little more glimpse of the behind the scenes of the Team Pursuit speedskating race-day. But this is not the actual race...practice beforehand.



The USA Men's Team Pursuit on the ice together warming-up before they raced. Sochi Olympics, Russia.



More of the USA Men's Team Pursuit on the ice together before they raced. Sochi Olympics, Russia.



Brian chillin before the Team Pursuit race with Jonathan Kuck and Shani Davis on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. Sochi Olympics, Russia.



This was Saturday morning, the day before closing ceremonies. I just wanted to give you one last look at the Black Sea from my room. The Russians faithfully kept watch over the sea front, especially every day right in front of our hotel. These mounted police this morning were stationed there for about 4 straight hours. I went from promising I would never walk outside the protected area, to walking home the last 4 nights by myself. The Russians succeeded in creating an entirely new city of venues to keeping the entire place secure from opening to closing. A job well done. Thank you Russia!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

"What I felt went wrong with US Speedskating" -Nancy Sr.

What I feel went wrong with US Speedskating.........by Nancy Sr.

Last week I did 3 posts considered controversial, especially because I had signed a contract to only say things of a positive nature about USS and the USOC. I understand the importance of such if it can directly affect the athletes performance. I am inserting here the contract I had to sign and my response to it in a desperate attempt to not sign ⬇️


Coach's Agreement Contract...click on to read
My Response to the Agreement...click on to read








Those posts were after the first races that were almost a shocking revelation that something wasn't right and I feel as far as the athletes are concerned, hush hush can be even worse if they feel it's on their shoulders (and it very well could not be) and I felt it wasn't. As for the contract, I had determined it was null and void in my mind. Several points had been broken by USS and the USOC (if they were to hold to the same or simply have created the contract telling the truth). I had had enough and it was time to start fessing up and become an organization that it's athletes and membership can trust. If such is the case, I KNOW, just that alone probably would have solved problems years ago which would have prevented the systemic problems plaguing the organization now.
The points I felt broken:

  1. I was sat down in December with 6 USOC and USS leadership and told that if I were to receive an accreditation, that I couldn't coach someone from another country (referring to the German skater who had been a part of our training group). That it was a USOC policy and the USOC was behind that. (I now know that was personal to me and NOT A USOC policy). The second day at the Olympics I saw a US coach from one of the sled sports, coaching a Canadian Olympian. I asked him about it and he said the USOC had not liked it but they were allowing him to do so. WOW, SITUATIONAL ETHICS ON THE PART OF USS and USOC. And you want US athletes to be good representatives....if they outright lie to me to get what (Finn Halvorsen wanted - that was his gig), how much deeper it runs. 
  2. The contract also stated that we needed to" support the US team by maintaining a positive attitude and creating a positive environment at all times"....But how and why are we expected to do such if the reverse treatment isn't there. Once we got to Sochi, the other private coach and I were included in 2 meetings of many. We rarely felt to be a part, except for situations that directly affected our athlete, or with text messages and emails. (One US coach does not fit into this description and we're both thankful for his presence). Without getting into details, I was told by one of the coaches I could come along to a press conference (they knew I needed a pass and I didn't have one) and when we got to the entrance, I was stopped and everyone looked, turned and kept going and the USS "sports advisor" turned away to avoid me. I confronted him with an email and no response. Without seeming petty with other examples, the point here is if you want to create a team mentality, inclusion is a key maneuver and even though it was done in situations that directly affected the athlete, it wasn't done for us simply as people.
Such is a USS problem. Most people do feel there are a lot of good and competent USS people. And if the motive for wanting to be a part of USS is truly for leaving your job better than when you came and working for the athlete, then only good can happen. But when you seek power and control, and try to exclude or be elitist (even in trying to keep teams small and not giving a bone to some of the athletes struggling to make it to the top) it creates dissension and often hopelessness consequently disenfranchising so many athletes (who then quit), and membership and alumni who just believe it's not worth the fight.

Why do so many good x skaters take their talents elsewhere? That's where some energy should be put to stop disenfranchising this group. We have almost no pool of coaches, and membership and athletes is always at a new low.

So this past spring the USOC and USS reorganizes and fires some people and report that they re now on the right track. With the new leadership on board, a "boatload of money becomes available" and it's thought that this will assure us the medals.

Haven't we learned that systemic problems don't get solved with money and simply new people? Whether you like it or not, it gets solved with right motives and people who have a heart and truly care for the individual. This organization could exist on less money if the people involved were trustworthy, and truth and justice reign. People will work for and athletes will die for employers or coaches who have developed a relationship and prove their motives are as selfless as possible.

And so where did USS go wrong here? USS has been turning over every 4 years. The wheel keeps gettin reinvented and advice from alumni and membership is ignored. When the new ED came in 3 years ago, and he hired Finn and others, I didn't agree. He was hired based on his 2002 SLC Olympic success that was not a model upon which to determine the next 4 years. I preached that much of the 2002 success was home field advantage and if you try to recreate a situation that does not include home field advantage, your premise will fail.

AND FAIL IT DID.

And when one try's to lead by power and control you will surely fail. If you are truly a great organization, people will come. They will want to be a part. And then it's always good to have other contributing entities because not everyone fits the same mold. Speedskating's success has come from a lot of rogue individuals and the "fighting" mentality. To bring it under a type of socialist mentality where everyone does the same thing, you lose greatness. AND where you give freedom you get commitment or at least harmony. And when you are "forced" to comply, it's a red flag something is wrong cause if it's good, you ll want it.

As I said in earlier posts, I believe for us (teamswiderpeltz and Hansen :), that this year was going close to perfect. We achieved the success we needed in the fall, although we had to do a lot of travel and change of my Olympic year plan to accommodate both trials being in SLC.

By the way, I fought the SLC decision for so long and was told to just deal with it cause it was the right thing to do. I said no money from NBC or the coverage to USS was worth what's fair and just to the athletes. YOU WILL SOON FIND IN THE ANALYSIS OF THE DEMISE OF THE TEAM THAT THIS WILL BE A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR. But no, why would I know such....(the people who,were the deciding voters had no education to decide such but that was the decision the other coaches wanted so it flew).

I knew I needed to get a couple steps ahead, so we didn't go to the fall world cups AND Brian chose not to do the sprint world championships right before the Olympics so we could fit in 2 extra training blocks. I know what we needed and we sacrificed for that. Dan Jansen and others criticized that move, but I know it was right (and confirmed by many of the Dutch that it was s good move). I needed to keep my plan going, but then Finn and the rest of the high performance team determines what's best for me because they are steeped in science and that I have "cheated" Brian by not allowing a more "science educated" person coach him. This being told me by a team doctor just weeks before the Olympics! Why do we so protect the psyche of the athlete but don't worry about tearing down the coach. And the same was told to me by Finn when he first came in, because he wanted to get everyone to SLC and recreate 2002. (I'm still baffled how the High Performance Team couldn't figure out that that was again what I call shoddy science).

USS tells me Brian is raw talent and what I do doesn't matter. Well, likewise SLC 2002 success was raw talent then also, so don't take the credit then, Finn. Or don't base 2014 on 2002 because it's totally irrelevant.

So, for Brian we sacrifice the world sprints for a training block and then we are forced to go, to Collalbo, Italy. Where all it does is expend unnecessary energy,adjustments, and frustration. I know I've said this, but I will repeat:

  1. for lowland training athletes, altitude at that time was no,good. The benefit would be gone sooner than the SLC athletes. But we were told by the high per team from the USOC too, that it would benefit.
  2. the cold, wind, outdoor ice were factors that required an adjustment not necessary before the Olympics 
  3. these factors in addition to experiments including the skin suits, and 2 other "secrets" were a kitchen sink of distractions that I contend contributed to everyone's demise. Shoddy science. As I've said, it's science 101 that you must isolate factors to find the contributing one....Come on USS and USOC....who's thinking here. Someone should have been fired on the spot.
  4. time change was also an adjustment. The more of those the more energy expended.

YES BEFORE AN OLYMPICS, THE GOAL SHOULD BE AS FEW DISRUPTIONS AS POSSIBLE. WHY DIDNT THE USOC PROTECT US FROM THAT?

And I sent a letter to the USOC executive and asked for intervention and he said he wouldn't. That I should deal with USS myself.

I was asked why I didn't speak up in Collalbo at the debrief, and I said I was on a gag order that I could only BE POSITIVE.

So upon taking the many small hits in Collalbo, it continued with getting up at 5am to travel, then being up all day running around doing Olympic processing in Munich, then staying up til 11pm for the BMW dinner, then up at 4am to travel to Sochi. Then for 1 week the athletes had to do an excessive amount of walking trying to figure out a routine. A USS team had gone a year and then a few months in advance. That was their job to figure logistics. The Dutch figured it out and had 2 bikes for all their athletes so they would not be walking much. USS had none except for shared USOC bikes.

It is completely IRRESPONSIBLE for USS and the USOC high performance team to deny that the above disruptions in Collalbo and the following schedule and added disruptions couldn't have all contributed to the demise of the team. I will agree with the analysis of the US coaches so far that they take responsibility with their training programs, but these other factors play a role.

Back to Brian. I knew we were losing some feel and energy, not a lot, but I was hoping that Brian's incredible competitive nature and ability to throw it into 5th gear could prevail. He was close and close enough for anyone to say it was not our base training program. He was only 0.3 off a medal in the 1500m and 0.5 off the Gold and that's not a flawed program. 

Speedskating is a highly sensitive and technical sport. Every little nuance will contribute to a "negative affect". So why risk it. At this point, you DONT TAKE RISKS UNLESS YOU'RE DESPERATE. 

Finn and and those who brought him in and those who supported him should seriously consider the route those decisions mandated and they should feel responsible for the course of events here. If there were flaws in the science in Collalbo, there were flaws happening from his beginning as well as people know the preferential treatment afforded others by him and that is unconscionable for the leaders at hand to have allowed such. The latter should have been a red flag that motives were personal and a personal agenda of preferential treatment is inherent in dishonesty. And it causes dissension in the team as well as all those around. This was brought to USS and the USOC's attention, and nothing was changed.

Bottom line for me personally aside from the pervasive damage allowed by leadership (remember I do say there are a lot of good people in the sport, but the leaders have allowed personal agendas, power, control and money to dictate too much), I feel I was stripped of what I do best (coach from experience and intuition) by Finn, those who hired him, and high performance team and the leadership. 

And that same mentality probably had a lot to do with the demise of the entire team.......

Nancy Sr.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Day 14 -Team Pursuit/No Medals

21 Feb 2014 -Nancy Sr.

As you all probably have seen already, the Team Pursuit didn't make it...we tried to pull it together but it didn't happen. I won't say it was for lack of trying or the training put in this year by the guys wasn't Olympic efforts, but recent preparation wasn't there and that was evident. It's often hard to say it like it is and sometimes best left unsaid, but in sport you either win or you don't. The line doesn't lie. And at this Olympics and as I hear so many times on press releases, the spin put on makes it all just fade into oblivion. Another cliché...sometimes that's what you do to move forward, but I'm kinda getting tired of the avoidance of the reality of it all. For me, the sacrifices over the last 15 years does not warrant a brush over and a spin. 

We bleed, sweated, and teared this and I don't take it lightly. Results should have been different. These guys were World Cup silver medalists just 2 1/2 months ago. It wasn't miscommunication during the TP race. Training was lacking and for a reason. As for Brian, he was prepared.

Tomorrow I will give my side that I haven't already given.


I stayed in the village area after the races, worked out, and hung out in the dining hall talking to whomever came in...kind of a mistake because now it's 3:15am :(

I'm so preoccupied on race day, and I forget to take pictures of the warmup and racing process. I wish I had done it on at least one of the days...

Because I will be writing a lot tomorrow and I didnt have any pictures/videos to show, I decided to video as I rode home. They let me in the park at 1:30am! Few were still roaming the park but it was odd to see it so empty.

I started with a repeat video of the satellite photo to give you perspective. Then took 7 video clips of the Olympic venue area and then my hotel and street (not too exciting!)

It's been a sad day...this is the first Olympics the US Long Track Speedskating team hasn't won a medal in over 30 years.


Goodnight from Sochi
Nancy Sr.


Videos:

Again, wanted to show you this video again before the videos that are coming after this one. This is a huge panoramic satellite view of the Olympic park and surroundings. They just put it up on the wall in our hotel. I thought you would get a better feel for some of the videos I've sent by looking at this to put it all in perspective. Study this a minute and then go back to some of the videos already sent. I wish I d sent this first cause it's hard to get a feel for what I ve sent without the context.



The first video in my (Nancy Sr.) trek back to my place going through the venues.



Night-Time view of the colourful speedskating Adler Arena in Sochi



From the middle of the Sochi Olympic Park....a panoramic view at night.



Another panoramic view of the Olympic venues in the Sochi Olympic park...including Adler Arena for speedskating.



Views of the Olympic Flame/Country houses....



Video of the future race track that will be the highlight of Sochi along with more of the Olympic venues at night.



The Olympic venue entrance -Sochi, Russia



The street I live on and my hotel here in Sochi.