U.S. World Cup Speedskating Team Chosen at Pettit Center
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- Chad Hedrick edged rival Shani Davis in a 5,000-meter race Sunday, with both Olympic medalists shattering the Pettit National Ice Center record for the distance.
They skated in the same pair with Hedrick winning in 6 minutes, 16.23 seconds to shave 8 seconds off the mark of 6:24.25 he set Oct. 23, 2005. Davis was second in 6:19.66.
Nancy Swider-Peltz Jr., of Wheaton, Ill., won the women's 3,000 in 4:08.03 in the other race on the third and final day of competition to select the U.S. World Cup teams.
Hedrick and Davis have had a testy relationship since the 2006 Turin Olympics, when Hedrick criticized Davis for not skating in the team pursuit event. Davis won gold and silver medals at the games, while Hedrick took home gold, silver and bronze.
"Everything was blown out of proportion," Hedrick said. "They picked him and I to be the clowns for the two weeks. And that was unfortunate because I felt we deserved to be treated a little better than that."
The skater from Spring, Texas, has not flashed medal form since Turin. But with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver fast approaching, Hedrick has renewed his commitment to skating.
"There's one reason why I skate. It's because of the Olympics," Hedrick said. "If the Olympics didn't exist in this sport I probably wouldn't be here. I'm ready, I'm hungry. I got a lot of hard competition all across the world. I'm just sending them a message right now that the Olympics is coming and I'm going to be ready to go."
Hedrick has added cycling and weight lifting to his training regimen, and credits coach Bart Veldkamp, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist at 10,000 meters from the Netherlands, with helping him improve his technique.
"He's a coach I believe in," the 31-year-old Hedrick said. "We started early this year, the day after my birthday on April 18th. Now it's just tuning everything up."
Unlike Hedrick, Davis starred last season as he won nearly every 1,000- and 1,500-meter World Cup race. The Chicagoan won the 1,000 Friday and set a track record of his own Saturday in the 1,500, a race in which Hedrick finished third.
"I'm really happy," Davis said of his weekend. "I'm really trying to build from there, getting even stronger."
Joining Davis and Hedrick on the men's team will be Brent Aussprung, Waunakee, Wis.; Ryan Bedford, Midland, Mich.,; Michael Blumel, West Jordan, Utah; Tucker Fredricks, Janesville, Wis.; Trevor Marsicano, Balston Spa, N.Y.; Chris Needham, Midvale, Utah; and Nick Pearson, Park City, Utah, with possibly one more skater to be named later.
The women's team includes two-time Olympic medalist Jennifer Rodriguez, Miami, who has returned to skating after a two-year layoff. Other members are Rebekah Bradford, Magna, Utah; Lauren Cholewinski, Murray, Utah; Maria Lamb, River Falls, Wis.; Mia Manganello, Kearns, Utah; Elli Ochowicz, Palo Alto, Calif.; Catherine Raney-Norman, Elm Grove, Wis.; Heather Richardson, West Jordan, Utah; and Swider-Peltz, whose mother was a four-time Olympian.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)