Our Story

1968, Nancy Sr speedskating at a local
pond in Park Ridge, IL
It all started long ago
At the age of 12, our mom was invited by a man named Mr. Widmark to speedskate for a small club in Park Ridge, a western suburb of Chicago. She used her brother’s worn black speed skates when all the other girls wore figure skates. Nancy Sr would later become the first US female to compete in 4 winter Olympics, a two-time world record holder, and represent the US on its national speedskating team from 1976 until 2002. For her, she thinks of competing in the 1988 Olympics after giving birth to Nancy Jr only a year before as her greatest accomplishment.

Dragged to the ice rink
1988, Winter Olympics in Calgary, Nancy Sr
with Nancy Jr
In the early 90’s, not long after we both had been walking, mom would throw skates on Nancy Jr and I at the rink in Milwaukee and let us skate for hours while she was training for the 1992 Olympic trials. To pass the time on the ice, we both tried to set our records for most laps skated in a session while sometimes jumping over all the lines painted under the ice as if they were cracks on sidewalks. Yet, by the time Nancy Jr and I were well into elementary school, we had left speed skating behind for sports such as swimming, track, baseball, wrestling, and others.

Not finished for good!
In 2000, with an old pair of skates sitting in the back of our car and Nancy Sr about to stop coaching the Park Ridge club she grew up skating in, Nancy Jr and I put skates on for the heck of it one night and joined the other kids on the ice. Nancy Jr never looked back. Within 2 years, she qualified for the 2002 US Olympic Trials along with Nancy Sr and by 2005 she made her first US World Cup Team. As for me, skating became my winter sport as it fell between football and baseball or tennis seasons. I did have success in 2006 when I qualified to compete in the US Olympic Trials that year.

The Crew
2002, Nancy Sr and Nancy Jr warming up
together before they raced each other in
the US Olympic Trials
Even before Nancy Jr and I started speedskating again, Nancy Sr had been coaching a scrawny little kid named Brian Hansen from Northbrook, IL. Ever since the three of us skated our first practice together we have made a great team and have helped make each other better and better over the years. Brian has become an incredible skater with amazing endurance and is currently one of the top speedskaters in the world (he competed in the 2010 Olympics and won a silver medal in the Team Pursuit race). Our crew leader is and always will be “tough as nails” coach Nancy Sr. She has been our coach since day 1 and has believed in us and dedicated all that she has to help us achieve our best.

Struggling with anemia
By the beginning of the 2005-06 season, Nancy realized that she had a shot to make the 2006 US Olympic Team. In an October race, she placed 3rd overall in the US and was only improving going into the December US Olympic Trials. Yet, as Nancy arrived in Salt Lake City to prepare a few weeks before the Trials, she began to feel unusually tired and her training performance decreased rapidly. She soon found out her blood was anemic and Salt Lake’s high altitude level induced anemic symptoms. But it was a little too late, Nancy Jr started recovering from the diagnosis but by the day of racing she still hadn’t come around to 100% and missed qualifying for the 3,000 meters by one spot.

Qualifying for Vancouver 2010!
2010, Nancy competing in the 3,000 meters
at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver
After the 2006 Trials, Nancy Jr enrolled in Wheaton College and competed in collegiate swimming. But a year later, she was back and training for Vancouver 2010. This time she was determined to make the team and two months before the Olympics, with 3 more years of training under her belt, she qualified for the 3,000 meters and the Team Pursuit race. In Vancouver, Nancy Jr skated an amazing 3,000 meter race for a 9th place finish. In the Team Pursuit race, her team knocked off the gold medal favorite Canadian team on their home turf and just missed a medal spot with a fourth place finish.

Deciding between football and skating
Before and after the 2006 Olympic Trials, I had been juggling school, football, tennis and speedskating throughout middle school and high school years. Then as a freshman at Wheaton College I took speedskating completely off for over a year and and played wide receiver on the football team. It was after the football season and while watching the Vancouver Olympics that I decided to jump back into speedskating and commit everything to become the best I could be in this sport.

Omg, the freakin Olympics!
Sochi 2014
With our crew back together since and training as hard as ever, the 2014 Olympics in Sochi continues to approach day by day. Our 2011-2012 season was great with Nancy placing 3rd in the 3000 meters & 5000 meters at the US Championships in mid-December. Also, Brian placed 2nd in the 1000 meters and 1500 meters, and 3rd in the 5000 meters and I finished 7th in the 1500 meters and 8th in the 1000 meters.

-by Jeffrey