Reports by Wolverine Speed Team Coach Jay Ingram from the 2006 World Speed Skating Championships in Anyang, S. Korea.
9/2/06-Anyang, S. Korea -- An Invitation. City in the East Welcomes the World.
Time and place? 1900 hours, Anyang, a city just outside of Seoul, South Korea. The Venue? Anyang Gymnasium. Those invited? The World, which included 50 countries who brought athletes to compete at these championships. The Reason? To open the 2006 World Inline Speed Skating Championships.
As written in the opening ceremony program, these opening ceremonies were created to "emphasize the characteristics and competitiveness within the sport of inline speed skating and these championships. An emphasis in enlarging the sports aspect of roller events" to the general public/the World. This will/was all done through "the introduction to the culture of the Republic of Korea" in these opening ceremonies and is meant to "continue throughout these championships."
What did all that mean? Well let us just say that if last night was an indication of what is in store in the next eight days, then just like last night there should be that intimacy that one feels when at a speed skating event such as this. But instead of it being with your home team at a big event bringing friends together to compete and have fun, it is athletes from all over the world representing their countries coming together to compete, have fun and show the World what their sport has to give, what they have to give. And that is passion, drive, heart and determination in your face I am here to give you excitement, through my different ethnicities and love for my country, I'll be full of energy, I'm East meets West meets the World to show you what I've got.
That is what happened last night that, is what the people of Anyang had created at these opening ceremonies through their energetic and very impressive martial arts, hip hop dance, aggressive skating, through BMX bike tricks, pyrotechnics, laser light show and fire works. This was all done in a large dome enclosed gymnasium standing room only. Alex Harris and Colin Thomas whom are one of the youngest American's representing Team USA were picked to represent Team USA in the opening ceremonies in the parade of countries. There was also a presentation of four, six foot plus tall inline race wheels, (A World Corporation pour) placed on a frame that one can only assume will be used for, well many American's had their jokes on that one but that Sci Fi radioactive fire breathing giant was created one country over to the west. There were regional and ethnic dances, songs, and music play which brought you back to the reality that you were in a different place, city, country that has embraced your sport. That Countries aim which is written out in the beginning of these championships program is to
•Hold the best Championships ever, to "identify Anyang as a city of roller skating."
•To have an economically efficient championship, a "championships based on the latest electronic and communication techniques."
•In doing so they hope to help form "a foundation to be included as an official sport of the Olympics."
Anyang is putting our sport in the World face, East meets West, meets the World. It should be fun, stay tuned.
9/2/06-Anyang, S. Korea -- Eliminations
These events were tough, brutal and in some cases cause for concern due to the falls that occurred. The Jr. Men and Women from team USA had their work cut out for them. EMILY RACHELLE SCOTT and BRIANA KAYE KRAMER were the American team pair. For these Ladies the pace was fast, hard and full of surprises. Korea's SE-YOUNG JUNG went on a break with 12 laps to go causing the flow of things to sort of go her way. That was until the pair from Colombia CAROLINA UPEGUI and MARGARITA MARIA BORERO decided to work a little to catch then CATHERINE ELIZABETH PENANPAILLACAR decided she wanted to win this thing and did what she could to catch Jung and skated right on by creating her own flyer. That spread things out even more and when it was all said and done she was going home with a Gold medal from this event followed by QUEVEDO and COY.
The JR. Men was a heated contest with a big fall with around 30 laps to go. This brought about a few bloodied faces, torn skin and some frustrated souls as these 10 or so athletes picked themselves up to try and catch the pack that was not going to have any of that. TERRELL JAMAR BRADLEY and KEVIN ROBERT QUANDT were the American young men skating this event, Quant sort of fell asleep and was out before he really had a chance to get tired and ended up 12th. Bradley skating with heart ended up ninth. CHUN-HEE UM and KI-DONG KWAK were the Korean men who during the last 20 laps or so commanded that they were going to take first and 2nd when all was said and done. They were followed by ANTONIO RUALES CERON from Colombia who ended up 3rd.
The Sr. Ladies was a bit of a repeat from what the Jr. Racers showed. Korea's CHEA-YI KWOCK went on a major flyer that thinned the pack out hurting many of the athletes. Brittany Bowe and Jessica Smith were the USA team members skating this and both showed up to the line with taped shins. The track seemed to be giving both of these women some difficulty, Smith and Bowe started out well but the muscle issues and track issues were a bit too much for Bowe who was out early. Smith managed to stay in the pack until the last elim which ended up being her. 6th place would be the placement recorded for her this year in this event that she has won countless times before in the past. Colombia's LIANA MERCEDES HOLGUIN CEDENO Ended up winning this event followed by Kwock 2nd and ALEXANDRA VIVAS also from Colombia in 3rd.
Jonathan Garcia was the man of this early evening event commanding the front for most of the race. He was shadowed by team mate Joey Mantia. The Colombian pair JORGE BOTERO and NELSON GARZON was stuck to them like glue not letting anyone interfere with the 3rd and 4th standing while this race was underway. Garcia kept the pace fast and took back the lead from anyone who challenged him for it. It was obvious that the race was Mantia's to win for he basically skated as one with Garcia who was breaking the wind and keeping team USA up in the lead. When it came down to the final elim both skaters lost concentration for a split second which was enough for Garzon and Botero to make their break with 2 1/2 laps to go. It looked like it was over and someone from team USA would end up taking home the bronze. Joey though was having none of that as he powered his way from 4th place on the start of the final lap past 3rd place holder from Italy PIER DAVIDE ROMANI. Getting by the two Colombian's was going to prove a bit more difficult but Mantia was up to the test and skated the track in a difficult maneuver to get past Garzon and Botero with ease stretching out with his power strides to be the man taking home the Gold in this event. Garcia end up 5th but anyone who watched that race knows he earned that Gold right along with Joey. He did what he had to in a respectable manner to make sure his team mate brought home Gold.
The final events of this evening were the 300meter timed final events. 12 athletes from each division both male and female would be sprinting to see who was the fastest for the track portion of these 2006 World 300m timed Events.
Heather Richardson was the Jr. Lady to beat. She was the only one in the semi-final round to skate at the 27 second mark. With her quick start and long powerful strides she became one with the track making it look easy to navigate through the turns down the straight and to the finish line with the best and fastest time, 27.612. DEIDY DAOLRIANA JARAMILLO OTERO from Colombia had a time of 27.988 to finish 2nd followed by So-Young Shin from Korea with a time of 28.053. USA Mariah Richardson had a respectable finish of 28.269 placing her 7th in a field of young women with much more experience..
The Jr. Men’s field set the track on fire with the the lead changing every time someone skated. Americans Chad Horn and Kevin Quandt held their own to show the World they can sprint but a few other men had the same thought in mind. MYUNG-KYU LEE from Korea, time of 25.612 would be the time to beat. He had a few more men to go after him and based on the times from the Semi-final it seemed that only Colombia's PEDRO CAUSIL or Korea's KYOUNG-DUCK KIM would be the one's able to knock him off the podium from 1st place. But Wait, some of us forgot about Italy who is usually there in all of the sprints and ANDREA PERUZZO was hot on Lee's wheels based on the split times. He would finish with a time of 25.745 placing him 2nd followed by Causil in 3rd with a time of 25.817.
The Sr. Ladies BERENICE MORENO from Colombia set the tone, finishing her trek for a 300meter title with a time of 27.453. Always smiling whether she is winning, loosing, spectating or just conversing Moreno would have to sit and watch other possible winners of this event chase down her time. The likes of former World Champions in this event such and Brittany Bowe and CECICIA BAENA, with up and coming hopefuls JIN-SEON LIM and JU-HEE LIM from Korea, SARA VANH SAYASANE from the United States, the Italians and you cannot leave out China Taipei or Argentina. When it was all said and done no one really had what it took on this track to beat Berenice's time. Everyone tried but the only one to get close enough by 100ths of a second was her team mate CECICIA BAENA with a time of 27.468. Third place went to China Taipei's YU TING HUANG finishing with a time of 27.630. Team USA finished Bowe and Sayasane finish just a little over three tenths of a second behind Moreno in 5th and 6th.
The Sr. Men’s event would finish up the night and set the 300meter timed events for these 2006 World Championships to rest. KALON DOBBIN from New Zealand proved that if the semi finals were a clue to who was going to be champion in this event it was hopefully going to be him. He was the only man in the 24 second mark followed some 4 plus tenths of a second behind by Joey Mantia from USA in the semi's. Dobbin got to skate last so he watched the field and figured out what would be the best line to travel for his hopeful winning time. The top four men in the Semi's proved to be the one's that were going to possibly keep Dobbin from that winning dream. Dane Lewis from Team USA was on fire and had winning split times through till the last 100 meters to where his speed was so fast that he did not cross the last whole corner finishing with a time of 25.561. For now Lewis was in 1st but there were four more men to go. Taipei's WEI LIN LO went next and beat Lewis's time by just under 2 tenths of a second, Lo was now in 1st. GREGORIO DUGGENTO from Italy was next and this man is always on fire but if you are going to win on this unpredictable track you have to get through the turns crossing. Duggento has won this event several time before in the past doing exactly what Lewis did earlier. Not skating the turns but would it work here? For now it did, his time placed him in 1st by one and a half tenths of a second, 25.152. Joey Mantia from USA went next and made it look effortless from start to finish, would he get into the 24 second marc which seemed to be where one would have to be to beat Dobbin if he should repeat his performance in the final? Time told all and Mantia finished with a time of 25.133, is it enough? Dobbin went next and his splits were exactly where Mantia's were at, basically from start to finish. He did not look as pretty and as strong as Mantia but he was going fast. He crossed the line with a kick in the air and a time of 25.055, beating Mantia's time by just half of a tenth of a second, but, he kicked in the air foot not on the ground to stop the clock? There were several protests, officials checking into things, coaches and athletes questioning if his time would be something different a bit more. Was his foot in the air or on the ground? In the end it did not matter because for some reason in this event they were not using cameras to make sure the athletes had their feet on the ground. It was decided several hours before that this oversite could not be changed and athletes if so choosing to could finish this way. What would have happened if Joey decided to do the Tony Muse style of finishing this 300meter, hand breaking the beam or copied what Dobbin did. HE probably would have won and by the same outcome and by just half of tenths of seconds.
These events did not set any records but they did show the World that it is Speed Skating is the name of the game.