29 April 2013

In Support of Worldwide Skating in General

I think people have got to start rollerblading (or in-lining) more. It's fun, really easy on your body and you actually can go really fast if you learn how to skate right. I know it depends on where you live but in northern Illinois I hardly see any of it except if you're blading down the lakefront in downtown Chicago. So to everyone I say ROLLERBLADE THIS SUMMER! Nancy and I have done some in-lining for training in the past but not as much as some other US skaters, many of which have switched from the sport of in-line skating to speedskating. But I don't want to talk about competitive blading, just recreational. A couple years ago, some friends of mine at Wheaton College started a rollerblading gang and we even went out one night with glow sticks taped to our blades. I used my Dad's super comfortable and super retro rollerblades which I've since claimed ownership of since I don't think he'll be on them again. Since then I've been rollerbladeing all over the place instead of biking. Today I was psyched because I replaced the super worn-out wheels on 'my' rollerblades and with some sweet white ones and I can't get over how 80's they are. I hope they last forever!

27 April 2013

The Beginning...

The key to the off-season is to relax and rejuvenate the mind and body as much as possible before jumping back into training just weeks later. Speedskaters 'off-season' is typically shorter than most sports, lasting around a month or less and for myself, coming off a year that was mediocre, I decided it was best to keep up most of my condition from last year. After my success in my season-ending competition in Calgary, Canada, I took approx. a week off of any training, and then jumped back into conditional training. This consists of lots of cycling, running, balancing strength, core and then keeping up my weekly therapy. Therapy that in the past has been to take care of my injuries, but now I can excitedly say that I am keeping up my therapy because I'm preventing future injuries. I can firmly claim that my physical health is probably back to what I was pre-injury or even better, thanks to my support team here in the Chicagoland area! Praise the Lord.

As I sit here writing this, I am still in awe that this upcoming season is already Olympic year season. Where has the time gone?! This past week it's been fun seeing people's posts and updates on how their first weeks are going (for most skaters this week is the start of Olympic season training) and gets me super psyched to think of hopefully making my second Olympic team, and hopefully alongside my brother as well!

Now as we begin this new season of training, we will be bringing y'all along for the ride, giving regular updates on training, showing what it will be taking to make the Olympic team with exercises and crazy videos, and hopefully getting y'all pumped for watching some Olympic Trials in December and Sochi Olympics in February 2014. For now, here is a glimpse of our 'fun' stair/low work workout on a hot sunny day at home here in Wheaton.

Again, we couldn't be pursuing our dreams without our support team. My therapy team: Paula, Dr.Yoss&Carl, Dusten, Dr.Major. Our Extreme Endurance supplements that I swear by and a huge shout out to Oakley that continues to supply us with great eyewear/products! Thank you all...

God Bless, Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

12 April 2013

Coach is Back in the Game!

Day after surgery
HAHA, I seriously have received more comments saying, "so now are we to expect a comeback from your mom at the 2014 US Speedskating Olympic Trials?!" than any other in response to her knee-replacement surgery 2 weeks ago. Y'all are very funny... :)

For those of you who've been keeping up with her surgery/recovery and also praying for her, our whole family cannot thank you enough. It has not been an easy route to getting a new knee. Her surgery went perfect thanks to Dr. Stulberg at Northwestern, but once the anesthesia wore off and pain set in, she was in complete misery for a couple days. But as you all know, she is one tough chic and on Easter Sunday, she was able to come home and join us for dinner with the whole family.

Swelling continues to go down (above), today's pic (right)
Since then, a therapist comes over once a day to keep my mom in check with tough therapy and she is walking around quite a bit and going to the gym to use the bike (don't worry, it's extremely easy). Icing faithfully has brought her swelling down significantly and it's amazing to see her walk straight now (see videos below!)...the Lord truly has blessed her. And it continually amazes me how technology has advanced to where people can have a new body parts, bringing them close to normalcy again or better. God is good.

"For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." 

              ~Psalm 100:5


It's been God, your support/prayers, & family, that have gotten her through...thank you all!

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

01 April 2013

Thoughts from our side of the story about the "On Thin Ice" article and a recent influx in articles about the unethical and stubborn ways of the US Speedskating organization

Front page of the Chicago Tribune, February 23, 2013. 
Not shown is the complete 2 page spread inside.

February 23, 2013. "Tribune investigation: With the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia less than a year away, US Speedskating is spinning into chaos — financial troubles, organizational problems and a team broken into factions — and the athletes are paying the price." ...says the brief summary of the investigative article "On Thin Ice." This and 2 other supplementary articles are fairly good, covering the general aspects of many issues, so the average reader (who likely knows next to nothing about speedskating) can manage to create a picture of what and how these problems developed in the US Speedskating organization (USS) and the repercussions of such. Since it seems like everybody's weighing in on the matter, here's a few thoughts from me about our side of the story...

As many of you know, we have had our own issues with USS. Having declined the option to skate with the USS program based in Salt Lake City, we have chosen to train with Nancy Sr. and receive little benefit but a season entrance pass to the rink. Yet, of course we still represent them in competition because we can't really be our own entity and then compete in international competitions. Yet, at this point we would prefer to represent just ourselves and our country.

All we want is to be treated fairly and for the organization to acknowledge "Hey, you guys have be working your butts off over there, we don't have that much money at the moment but we care about you and we'll try to help you out in any way possible," and actually do it. But even though our 4x Olympian coach has trained many Olympians through the 80's, 90's and 00's, the organization ignores our existence unless we have results that get their attention and then, of course, they want the association. Our coach is not included in meetings, necessary information, and receives "No you cannot's" constantly. She is told that she will be treated like any other non-national team coach and that she's not good enough to create a medalist (which she's already done). She's also been criticized for not taking her skaters out to train in Salt Lake.

Nancy Sr. is an Olympian, alumnus and present coach of Olympians. This is why USS has financial problems, membership problems, rebellion and little alumni support-because more was taken away from them than ever received. The way to get alumni to give back and help create financial solvency is to have supported them when they were skaters with confidence, trust, recognition, communication and finances if possible-um, no brainer! Instead, USS continues to take it for granted that Nancy Sr. continues to create Olympians with literally no sweat or money out off their back. In fact, along with offering little help, they actually make it more difficult for us.

There are so many instances where we can describe unfair treatment towards us. They range from outright, disrespectful yelling at Nancy Sr. by USS coaches, staff, and a board member-all related to our trying to keep our autonomy and just being individuals doing it on our own-to seldom recognizing midwest skaters in the media and when they actually do, often accepting credit for their successes. They also inappropriately quote USS coaches names in media which misleadingly indicates that they are the coach of the privately-coached skater mentioned. 

One of our worst conflicts with USS, though, was in the Vancouver Olympics, when USS board members Jack Mortell and Brad Goskowitz took away an Olympic accreditation Nancy Sr. received from speedskating's international governing body (the ISU) to coach Nancy Jr. and Brian Hansen during their Olympic races. Leaving them with other USS coaches instead. They took away a skater's mother who was her coach at the Olympics! This was reported in the press but didn't get much attention. Instead, accreditations were given to a "team psychiatrist" whom few used, and other personal whom the USS deemed important. It's not that those people aren't potentially of value, but the power play to bar Nancy Sr. was a failing attempt to cover up internal fighting, little national team success and unprecedented private coaching success (yep, some other private coaches, Paul Marchese, Kip Carpenter and Tom Cushman had skaters in that Olympics too). Because of this, like after the 2006 Winter Olympics, a majority of USS adminstration got fired (though not Jack Mortell or Brad Goskowitz) but obviously, the problems remained.

This is just one part of the bigger picture and I think it's pretty indicative of the history of this organization. But it's our story, and we will continue to train without much help of an organization. Honestly, since they are already uninvolved in our training, I don't think dissolving USS would affect us as much as "On Thin Ice" says. Otherwise, I think the only change that will work is one that starts in the heart and honesty that starts at the top and spreads throughout the rest of the organization. It can happen. But when Jack Mortell says in this Tribune report that "you can paint me any way you want, my job is to win Olympic medals," he is minimizing the destruction caused by his insatiable control over the organization by upstaging it with our country's love of the Olympic medal and him being the deliverer. Unbelievable. Is he the one that hits the gym and  the rink to train his tail off just to have a chance to make an Olympic team? Last time I checked, it was the skater's job to win the medals and USS's job to help us out. Jack should realize that he needs to invest in developing skaters from grassroots programs all over the US as well as the top skaters to ensure future success of our speedskaters-a dying breed of US athletes.


P.S. Brian Hansen won a Gold and three Bronze World Cup medals this year so keep his name in mind if you read the "Talent Pool In Long Track Could Be Drying Up" article :)

"On Thin Ice" 


"Who Is Jack Mortell"

"Talent Pool In Long Track Could Be Drying Up" 


A later article written March 5th, 2013, in the Chicago Tribune that says 6 speedskaters recently filed an official complaint to the USOC (which isn't unusual) and demands reorganization and a new CEO.

"6 skaters demand USS Speedskating reorganization"