Our family just loves competition. We all have a relatively high level of competitiveness, even Samantha, our 2 year old who isn’t old enough to say the word yet.
So when I had the opportunity to attend the World Cup of Speed Skating at the Utah Olympic Oval this past weekend, I jumped at the chance to go. It was on my life list nd I’m so glad that I went. It was a complete adrenaline rush. Other than my television watching experience with speed skating at the Olympics every 4 years, I knew very little about the sport. I could only recall the names of 4 Olympic speed skaters: Apolo Ohno, Katherine Ruetter, Dan Jansen, and Bonnie Blair. Again, I knew about them only because of the Olympic coverage.
I was amazed at how close I was able to get to the competition. I could hear the voices of the official’s, the coaches, and even the sounds of their blades as they sped around the track. I just love the spirit of international competition and was amazed how people from Bulgaria, Israel, and Italy were there to compete. As my brother-in-law joked, “I didn’t even know Bulgaria was still a country, let alone have a speed skating team.”
I just loved the spunk and energy of the coach on the far left. Everytime his skater would round the corner, he was jumping on top of the barrier, and shouting. I am totally that parent at times on the inside when my kids compete. I try very hard to not be too obnoxious, but as I said, I love competition.
The 500 meter race is 4 1/2 laps and is fast. I love the start and the turns amaze me. The speed, agility, and flexibility is unmatched of anything I have ever physically witnessed. And when they fall, they fall hard. I was standing right next to the blue padded barrier when a skater fell and crashed. I could feel the vibration of his fall.
When the skaters started the 1500 meter race, I was surprised by how slow it seemed at first. There is obviously a strategy to the race and I was really trying to figure it out. But at times, I wanted a skater to break out of the pack and I desperately wanted to shout, “Move your ass!” But I didn’t as I rarely cuss, it was Sunday, and I was in Utah. That triple combination would surely get me struck by lightning. But did I mention that competition can bring out a scary side of me? And oh yes, I shouldn’t cuss at the athletes considering that I know NOTHING about speed skating.
A highlight was seeing Katherine Reutter skate. She is graceful yet such a fierce competitor. And she of course won the gold and was just as friendly off the ice and gracious with her fellow competitors. Just loved her.
I was shocked at how accessible things were. Look how close I was to the athlete’s when they received their awards. And the pictures above were all taken with my wide angle lens. I never so much wanted a zoom lens in my life. Can you imagine the pictures I could take with a 70-200 mm zoom lens? I should ask Santa.
And I was also shocked at how I got to experience this level of competition for only $10! This was an amazing experience and I will go see another in the future with Jeff and the kids. They were insanely jealous of my experience and I was texting them photos and video.
So my big news is that I’ve decided to quit my 16 year career as a nurse and take up speed skating. Here is a video of what I am aspiring to do:
Do you think I have a chance?