Comments: Announcing the Virginia Speeskating Elite Team

My concern like many others will be how much does the programme cost? Most people never make it to the olympics or national teams because they can't afford it. Not so much because training is hard.

Posted by Bri at April 18, 2008 11:09 AM

The Virginia Speedskating Elite Team is a new, free, year-round training program for skaters aspiring to elite-level performance.

I assume free really means free in this case.

Posted by noelle at April 18, 2008 11:26 AM

On the surface, this seems incredibly great, and very exciting news! I hope that it doesn't also mean 'too good to be true'.

There are so many skaters who could benefit from this, and hopefully the 'housing available' means that the younger skaters will have more of a supervised, home-like experience.

It seems well-thought-out and well-funded. Please, God, let it be true! :D

Posted by Lori (Girl Next Door) at April 18, 2008 4:28 PM

I would like to know which NATIONAL TEAM skaters will be in this program. With the national team in Salt Lake City and the development team in Marquette at the USOEC, it seems like most of the top level skaters already have a funded training program. Which elite skaters will participate in VA?

Posted by skater at April 18, 2008 5:12 PM

Not all of our talented, aspiring skaters are on the national team or in one of the development programs. This is wonderful news -- not only for the skaters, but also for the growth of ST on the east coast.

Posted by susie at April 18, 2008 6:16 PM

Money is keeping most people off the team? Can't be much of a team then.

Posted by Ruff at April 18, 2008 7:54 PM

Great questions.

The "free program" really is free. We are well funded.

Jordan Malone and Kimberley Derrick have agreed to be the Team Captains and wear the Team logo on their National skinsuit this season. They will not train in Virginia, but rather serve to promote the Team and serve as ambassadors for the Team around the world. The National Team has agreed to support the program with mini-clinics thoughout the year. We anticipate that Jordan and Kimberley will join the team periodically through these clinics.

The available housing is home-based with adult supervision.

Our mission is to provide a level of programming that is today available to only the national team skaters. One day it will be our Team skaters that make National Teams!

Please support the program. Send applications with skaters who have high level aspirations.

Posted by Steve Burton at April 19, 2008 3:39 PM

Wow Steve. Thanks for stopping by to comment and clarify. Seldom are the words 'Speed Skating' and 'well funded' put together. I cruised around the website and it looks like the club has made great strides in only a few years. Kudos to Virginia Speedskating. I hope your program will provide a wonderful and supportive environment for the skaters who dedicate themselves to the sport. Hats off to Jordan and Kimberly for their participation.

Posted by mtnme at April 19, 2008 7:10 PM

Steve, what are the entry / time / age (?) / citizenship requirements for the program?

Posted by FlyingAfrican at April 19, 2008 8:30 PM

What mtnme said.

It is wonderful to see a well funded short track program. Best wishes for a successful program and to the skaters. What a great honor and opportunity for Jordan and Kimberly to be involved in this ground-breaking effort.

Posted by Deb at April 19, 2008 10:28 PM

I thought I would inform all of you that Ron Judd, our favorite Olympics journalist, besides Noelle of course, is starting an Olympics blog with the Seattle Times.

It should be fun to read during the build up to both the summer and then the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Posted by janet at April 20, 2008 6:07 PM

Nonskaters may not know that Wilma Boomstra runs what is essentially an elite level training program in SoCal. The parents work very very hard to raise the considerable expenses of that level of coaching and ice time that runs us in the Bay Area at $300 for a 1.5 hour session (our coachs are volunteers). I think it's a great idea to have a similarly high level program on the East Coast. On the other hand, if USS is going to fund this level of training shouldn't they also help out the SoCal SS club who has sent so many of their members (including Jordan) to the National Team?

Overall this can only be a plus for the sport. BTW, is the state of VA offering USS any funding to land this program? Why VA? Just curious....

Posted by SusanG at April 20, 2008 8:20 PM

I really doubt that USS or the state of VA is funding the VA program. From what I hear they raise their own funds by running a bingo hall.

Also I am surprised to hear that Wilma Boomstra is a volunteer coach?

Posted by Anonymous at April 21, 2008 9:25 AM

Wilma is NOT a volunteer coach. The coachs at NorCal SS are volunteers, as they are at most of the clubs. The point is that with a full time elite level coach you're going to get elite level athletes. With no past history of speedskating in the state I'm simply curious as to why they are starting an elite program in Virginia. It's all good though.

Posted by SusanG at April 21, 2008 12:17 PM

Hopefully Steve will come back and fill in the details, but speedskating has been very active in Richmond for some years now. Their club is lucky enough to have elite-level coaches from Korea (check out the links I posted above).
With that kind of horsepower, trying for something bigger seems like a no-brainer.

You may also remember a couple of summers ago Jordan and Yoon-mi Kim helped out with a camp put on by Virginia Speedskating in conjunction with the VA Commonwealth Games (Tony Luu sent in his pics to OZ at the time).

It boils down to Virginia having the resources and the desire, so why not? If only we had something like that in NoVA!

Posted by noelle at April 21, 2008 12:44 PM

Thanks Noelle. I didn't know, or had forgotten, about the Virginia SS club. I was thinking the Korean coach was in Maryland for some reason....I do think it's a great idea to have a elite program on the East Coast. After all there are a lot more speedskaters in the Midwest and North East than out in the West. Guess I'm just plain nosey!

Posted by SusanG at April 21, 2008 5:21 PM

Regarding other questions:

The new team program is 100% funded by Virginia Speedskating. You are correct, one of our largest fund raising is in fact bingo.

USS is not contributing any funding to the program. However, I have six-year relationship with Kevin Chun, brother of Jae Su Chun, head coach for USS Short Track, and was introduced to speed skating by Jimmy Jang, now assistant USS coach.

When we started VA Speedskating, for the first few years my son and i would travel to Maryland and spend the weekend with Jimmy and Kevin's club each Saturday and Sunday. We would then return to Richmond and teach the same lessons each Monday night at our practice.

Subsequently, i hope that we will be able to have non-financial program support when needed.

Now we have our own coaches, Sun-tae and Ji-Young Chea, who moved their family to Richmond from Korea at my request two years ago on a serious leap of faith.

we have about 9 applications for the new program so far - very good skaters ranging from 11 - 19 years old so far.

We prefer skaters age 10 - 25, but are willing to consider exceptional cases of any age.

No firm time limits - most important is willingness to make serious commitment to the program. When you spend this much time together, it can get like family here. Want to make sure that skaters who apply are willing to be a contributing member of a team effort to excel.

We will consider all skaters who apply - can be from any country.

Posted by Steve Burton at April 21, 2008 9:40 PM

Congratulations Steve. That's a great story. I'm reminded of my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

Posted by SusanG at April 22, 2008 10:16 AM

Steve, thank you so much for posting the information about Virginia Speedskating. How exciting for the future of ST. This is awesome. Good luck to all of you.

Posted by Breidy at April 22, 2008 4:22 PM


One of the many reasons I quit the idea of skating on the US national team for LT is mainly because USS has its own athletes for 2010 essentially picked out. I'm not from MN, WI, or the midwest, so getting attention was almost impossible. I'm also not one to kiss someone's bum just to get a suit, or a chance at a suit and a spot. Sorry, I don't play sports politics, there's enough in the office and other parts of my life.

The british squad was happy, in fact more than happy to have another skater on their squad, and all (Phil, and Matt) the athletes are very nice (not to say the American ones aren't).

Funding is always an issue and most of USS fails pretty bad at getting any, of course they really want to keep their sport very small and manageable by a few select inside people.

But if what you say is true about your programme, it sounds like something that's really kick ass, and should continue anyway possible.(using legal ways of funding of course :P )

Posted by Bri at April 23, 2008 10:16 AM

ok normally I don't make any post. but after reading bri's comment. i feel like i need to. i don't really follow you on your comment about the USS has their 2010 LT team picked out. I clearly saw people outside of WI, MN and the midwest making national team. Honestly, if you're fast enough and have times "POSTED" in comps. You'll clearly be on national team. But talking about you running a 35 sec 500 is a different story. I'd say just get out there and train not talk about how fast you think you are or want to be. Bri if you have the potential and you're doing well at comps. And actually skate major national comps. Then you'd be noticed. Not just skating club races when they don't really even have timers.

On a different not. Steve I really wish your program the best. This is a good thing you're doing. Best Wishes and keep up the good work for us skaters.

Posted by anthony at April 23, 2008 1:53 PM

Ummm Bri. I thought you were in Seattle after the Salt Lake City move. Have you decided to return to the UK? Back to school? It's a small sport there but this year's team has done well. Are there team try outs? I'll relay your news to your old buddies at NorCal SS. I don't think USS deliberately wants to keep the sport small. You recall the difficulties even getting recognized as a sport. It's just no competition for ice hockey....or those 10,000 curlers 0_0

Posted by SusanG at April 23, 2008 4:56 PM

It's not so much the official things that people read that influenced my decision, but the things that USS doesn't want to or won't verbally say or publicise. Some of what I heard from former speed skaters including the only one with 5 golds in a game (we know who that is) said that USS usually promotes from within (northern midwest). It's really sad thought that at the national level, they're still as small thinking and acting as people think the local clubs are, even though the local clubs in my opinion are much more organised and accepting of new people and promoting of the best in their clubs, regarless of what they look like, come from, colour of skin, bla bla bla.

That's why I'm happy if the VA elite team does really well and keeps their purpose as it is now.

I'm in colorado right now because I just couldn't take anymore of USS's and the rink's BS. They're both an NPO and you can really tell from their lack of giving any concern (I was going to use more colourful words but this is a forum easily accessed by many people) about anyone but themselves. Some things are big, and something things are small that you really notice over time.

I also knew quite a few people that were literally in poverty. Some still going to H.S. and some were in college and some were even working (like me). but the commonality is that most were barely making it, they snapped or broke a piece of equipment, and their savings went to buying a new whatever, or their parents paid for it.

It was and is very difficult holding a full time job and training full time at the same time. I had no time for just about anything including keeping my car running well.

I had a talk earlier with my fiancee (kori) about sponsouring some speedskaters saying, they must come from a background of little or no extra money for training in a sport that doesn't guarantee you a bloody thing. Why did I say little or no money? Most of the skaters that I skated with either well, let's say a bit over half either came from a famous name that USS recognised, or they had enough money to full support their kids traning full time with no worries about money or buying equipment or whatever else they needed to train, encluding a car (new or used).

There are team tryouts, and they're called nationals, but the idea of nationals being the clean and totally fair time to skate and get on the team is what else, BS. They have in the past DQ'd skaters who were skating against their favs. or future favs. Apolo is one of their favs. even though he's not quite as good as J.P. Kepka (who I've skated with) and I think J.R. Celski is also getting to JP's level quickly, but has some growing (physically) to do.

The thing about Apolo is his dad marketed him early on as a Cinderella story, coming from a life of gangs to this great athlete bla bla bla. He's also had to fight USS for what he has, and can now tell USS what he wants, and they'll do it.

Don't believe me? Look at the standards for the men's 1000m (I think) and then the women's. The times were much easier for slower skaters to qualify, but Apolo told USS that if they let the slower skaters in, he wouldn't skate. Since Apolo was the reason why most people come to watch the event, USS had to lower the time standards to keep Apolo in the competition. Apolo has a lot more pull with USS than most people realise. and of course, he is THE sport.

But there's also many reasons why quite a few of the national ST team doesn't train in the same place. They do about 20min. of skating and the rest of the time is standing around, setting, or skating slowely and talking to each other. This is the primary reason why J.P. is moving to Milwaukee (same place as I will be) in about a month or so with Caroline.

A book everyone should read who reads this is Eva Rodansky's book (when it comes out) since it's all about her life as a speed skater, and how USS's former director Robert Crow and his mistress (who skated) kept her out of her favourite race - the 1500m

Living in SLC and seeing what went on everyday was a real eye opener as to what "real" athlete and future olympian training was like. As one coach explained (norge national team coach). The skater gets on the team, and it's a permanent vacation in the US.

Posted by Bri at April 24, 2008 10:15 PM

Hey Bri ,thanks for all the information about what really goes inside the USS, but another thing, is the truth involved Apolo's Life and his sacrifice for the Sport that goes beyond words.I'am not saying this because, I love Apolo and I want to stick for him. Independently of what you referred as the "Cinderella Story", as a great way to marketing his career, it doesn't have nothing to do of the great skater he is!If he was not a greater skater and a person of many qualities,maybe he was as recognized as he is today! He has been showing for years he is determined and gifted in what he does.Like it or not, he is the best our country has to offer inside the World of Short Track Speed Skating!Come on ,Bri? If anyone wants his recognition, stop talking and act! Start training in a level noone is trying to train and become mentally strong ,just as Apolo is... and prove to yourself that you are very wrong saying things about him like that.JP is a very good skater,but he is not "great" as Apolo, otherwise,he was also a 5 time Olympic medalist too or even better!I respect your feelings, but it sounds a little jelousy mix with bitterness from your part! "Be a Champion is something that is in the heart of the winner.

Posted by Luv Sci at April 25, 2008 12:11 AM

BRI ARE YOU DELUSIONAL? seroiusly, what are you smoking man? what are you talking about? you're a funny funny dude. wow dude you really have some messed up views. you talking about peoples business on here is quite ridiculous. ok apolo clearly is the best in the world right now! LOOK AT THE RESULTS! you really seem like you like name dropping because you have spoken to these people once in your life. i mean saying hi to someone doesn't mean you know them. or that they would even let you in on this much info about them. About funding, how many people did you really talk to? Do you really know how many skaters are struggling each and everyday to survive because LACK OF FUNDING? really dude get your facts straight before you start saying stuff. it's kinda ridiculous. all i can say is, if you're gonna be a skater, do exactly that. SKATE AND MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! Win some races, beat some people worth while. Not 50 year olds who do this for recreation. WOW you're a work of art.

Posted by anthony at April 25, 2008 12:39 AM

"Bri, Bri, Bri, whoever you may be. Slipped on some ice, fell on his head, and now his logic is dead."
Ok, seriously, who is this guy?? Do you know whyyy its so hard to make natinal team? because you need to be FAST. YOU are not fast enough! accept it. Your skating should speak for itself. another point, get your names right before you go writing them online. His name was Mike crowe, not robert. And the reason why this person you refer to as his mistress skated over Eva in the 1500m is because she was FASTERRRR. geeeez. Of course there are politics, there are in every sport, but it actually isn't judged like figure skating. You need to make time standards and placements to make a team or to qualify.
And before you go off spouting all these people that had a big name or had more than enough money for skating, get you facts straight. I know a lot more people than you in US speedskating, and only a few are totally financially well off,,and most of those few are so because of their skating accomplishments. You say its hard to get onto teams b/c you weren't from the midwest? thats ridiuclous! the only reason the midwest was a "powerhouse" was b/c they have rinks there! that was where all the rinks were and hellooo,,its coldd there in the winter,,it was the only place skaters could have ice in some places. There are soo many skaters that are not from the midwest that your comment is just not even valid.
I suggest you take all this time you spend online whining, and go train your butt off, put some real work in. toodles!

Posted by shanequa at April 25, 2008 12:45 AM

I have to agree with the last two posters, 'Bri' I think you have disrespected a lot of skaters who don't have funding or rich parents or sponsors, but who still go out and make elite level or national level teams.

A lot of skaters are working low paying jobs just to cover their rent so they can do what they love... skating.

Some people have put their professional careers on hold to skate.

Posted by Anon at April 25, 2008 10:58 AM

I have no authority to speak on USS 'politics', so I'll stay out of that argument. But I will say that I wholeheartedly agree with Bri's assertions that there are many ST (and presumably LT) skaters who are in critical need of funding that could affect their ability to train properly. Back in January there was a convo on our Yahoo trip-planning group between Bri and Mtnme about this very thing. One member of our group mentioned that she had joined USS in the hope that her $15 fan membership would help the skaters - Bri replied with something that has stuck in our minds ever since...

...if you want to donate to an athlete, just write them a cheque or hand them some money...

Coincidentally, just days after this conversation, we found that our group would not be offered VIP tickets to WC6. We had all been willing to shell out $45 per day for 3 days, and now we were only paying $15 for Gen Admission tix - in essence, we had 'money to burn'. Bri's statement came back to mind and inadvertently inspired a grass-roots fan effort to help our ST athletes that has been in the works since that day, and you're likely to be hearing about it very soon.

Which brings me back to the subject of Bri's current comments AND VSET. All politics aside, our research since January fully supports the comments by Bri about hardship for the skaters - while it's obviously not an all-inclusive problem, it does seem to be pervasive, and hits at virtually every level.

Mtnme said it well in a discussion we had recently: "It's hard to make the National team if you have to work your butt off just to hold down a job as opposed to just being able to train 24/7. But ya' can't quit your day job UNTIL you can put in the amount of training so that you ARE good enough to make the team- so it's a catch 22"... (and our hat is off to those athletes who managed to do just that!) Those are the skaters who need help- the ones who are good, but on the edge for funding.

We're just a bunch of fans - we're not part of any 'inner circle' at USS - we don't 'know' people, but we do love our skaters. It's USS's job to go after the 'Big Dogs' - corporate and large sponsorships that can keep their programs running and support their top skaters, so in our opinion this VSET program fills a much-needed niche for the 'next tier', and it's our hope that their efforts will take a few dozen skaters off our own Wish List and enable us to concentrate on skaters who are even further down the totem pole. Our efforts will no doubt be small potatoes compared to the funding needs that we've been hearing about, but we'll be happy if we can just give a little breathing room to a few ST skaters who are all heart, hard work and talent, but little funding.

Posted by Lori (Girl Next Door) and Mtnme at April 25, 2008 2:48 PM

Who would have known that such an announcement, in all its good intentions, would stir such a response & reaction. It seems that whenever an optimistic outlook is created for speedskaters, an equally but negative disposition is also manifested.

When frustration takes over and begins tainting the characters of other athletes, whom also started off with very little or nothing, that's just foul. Everyone has a story. How badly you want something is what ultimately determines where you'll end up.

Please, don't put down Apolo or anyone else.

Posted by An Apolo Fan at April 25, 2008 4:46 PM

Funding is a big concern for alot of the athletes. For example, last season after moving the ST National Team from Colorado Springs to SLC, all of the National Team member recieved funding of atleast $600 a month. Now, this season only the top 6 are getting that money. How are the other NT skaters suppose to survive?? If the program was still in the Springs, their housing and meals would be taken care of, now the non funded team members are left with that bill. Where does this membership money go? And the sponsorship money? Only the top 6 are being funded, what about the rest of the skaters in US Speedskating either in/or out of a program, they are seeing none of this money?

Posted by skater at April 25, 2008 7:38 PM

Good discussion people. I wondered how the finances would work for the NT members when they left the Springs. Housing, food, training and work out facilies....that's basic support. I can't recall what the standards were to be invited to train there, but it sure seems that USS should be making up the difference for the same people who would have been at the OTC. Every sport has politics, espcially an Olympic sport. At the end of the day it's the person who perserves and gets on the podium who counts to USS and the USOC.

Posted by SusanG at April 25, 2008 9:33 PM

About funding...humm we cannot save the World !Of course, giving a little bit here and there can sometimes become in a Lot! I was an athlete already and if you really want to get "sponsors", please try be the best you can!Sponsors will look for the best to advertise their interests and Apolo has been smart! Of course, a little bit here and there from admires can help,but mainly your parents have to provide you with the most! Its a matter of putting the sport as a priority in your Life without expect any in return most of the times.What could be done? That's the reality of many Olympic Sports and not only Speedskating ! Sad ,but the truth! I think noone should be crying about funding if this problem is there for so long and not much is being done! Face it, act and do what you can!Apolo does for himself an why not we can have many other athletes similar to his level? Lack of fund,I don't think so.Its a matter of going out there with what you have and make it and not relying on the USS. Go for the impossible...believe in yourself is more important than the best blades,best skinsuit or the best diet! The big truth many athletes miss is that of training hard with the little that is given to you and make bigger! Make it happen!

Posted by Luv Sci at April 25, 2008 9:39 PM

It's interesting to read passionate comments.

Speed skating is infectious. Watching someone propel themselves over 30 mph and slide in between two other skaters laying out through the corner is unlike any other sport.

It's easy to catch the fever - want to be a part of it. Spending time with national team skaters and club skaters openned my eyes to the challenges that go beyond just making it happen on the ice.

It takes a great athelte to perform at top levels in the sport. But a lot of potentially great skaters never find out how far they can go. Funding is not everything, but it is a barrier that restricts our sport. It can limit access to ice - access to coaching - access to teammates.

Virginia Speedskating is dedicated to providing skaters a place to excel. If you think you have what it takes: apply - show up - make it happen.

If you commit yourself to the sport we will commit to fund your training. If you commit to our team we will commit to your development.

Skate for fun, fitness or to chase Olympic dreams™

Posted by Steve Burton at April 25, 2008 10:56 PM

I think we all agree that the politics and money angles in the world of sports and particularly Olympic sports is less than ideal and actually counter-productive. While this is not "new" and not soon to be resolved, it is important to maintain the awareness level. As a fan I appreciate any and all information that impacts on an athlete's ability to perform, including lack of basic support ( and on all levels, not only NT ). The season's results reflect this teams' focus, hard training and self confidence. Unfortunately that does not pay the bills they come home to at the end of the day or put food on the table or gas in the tank. Obtaining sponsorships is a full time job in itself and requires some degree of expertise - there are thousands of other deserving athletes competing for money alongside you.

Again it will only benefit the sport to learn as much as possible and for "insiders" to share their knowledge with us. And if fans can make a small difference for one athlete for one day......

Posted by JL at April 26, 2008 7:57 AM

If you really have a dream, you will find a make it happen.Takes sacrifice , courage and self discipline to become a Champion.Everybody says" I already know that", but people forget that is a Big difference in between Living and believing it! Money can be an obstacle like many others that needs to be overcome on the way to make a dream come true!Count with yourself and with what you are capable in do it for yourself or for others and you will be surprised! The doors will open for the ones with the williness of making things happen! You might have the most expensive speedskates and sponsors on your side, but if you don't have in your heart for to be a Champion someday, "you" will not be one! How many athletes come from wealthy families and does not even get on the National Team? Does not even get an Olympic medal and still have all the resources available to them? I met many athletes and people like that in mylife!The secret is," Go and do it your best and make it happen!" Otherwise,I don't think that kind of Sport is not for you!Try something else instead of find excuses for something that YOU are not capable in doing it! I wish the best to every athlete,but as an advice,do a search deep inside and make a self-evaluation of what you are doing and what you really want for your-self and " Don't jump out of the boat if you cannot swim". My best wishes,

Posted by LuvSci at April 26, 2008 1:55 PM

As with any family there is the good, the bad, and the ugly. While no one person's opinion should be taken 100% or disocunted 100%, it seems to me that the Virginia Program is trying to bridge the gap regarding all of the issues that have been mentioned above. This should help those competitors who have met obstacles find a place to "be" regarding ST. If they choose to opt in to the Virginia program then they too have the potential to become the next "face of Short Track" without the many concerns that the skaters are facing today. If the Virginia Club fails in its mission, then I guess all the complaining was much ado about nothing. Run, don't walk to your computer and complete the application.

Posted by Gasp at April 26, 2008 7:02 PM

While I agree that no amount of funding will make a champion out of someone who doesn’t have the innate ability, or even more importantly, the drive and a serious work ethic, - nor do I think that funding (or lack thereof) doesn’t have an impact on what an athlete can achieve.

As much as I love Jiminy Cricket, and the whole Disney gang, I don’t believe for a second that putting your nose to the grindstone while whistling, “When You Wish Upon a Star, Your Dreams Come True!, is gonna pay for that airfare to the next competition, when you’ve got a $1.49 in your checking account, just because you want it bad.

Or perhaps I’m just more of a pragmatist. If we’re going to spout platitudes, I’ll take mine from the movie, “The Right Stuff” (apprapo, no?)

“You know what makes this bird go up? FUNDING makes this bird go up! No Bucks! No Buck Rogers!

Everyone keeps saying "it's expensive" to be a short track speed skater, but that doesn't really tell you much, now does it? So in the course of our research for The Rocker Fund, we asked - How Expensive? The following was provided to us from Anthony Barthell (much put upon (by us) speed skater and one peach of a guy) and Sue Perles (a peach of a gal) from Southern California Speed Skating Association.

The following is a breakdown of some of the costs to skate. These are averages, but it does give you an idea of what a skater has to come up with to compete. The following expenses would be hefty from the perspective of most adults making an average living, - so don’t kid yourself if you think some 18 year old is making 30 bucks an hour, rockin’ it at the Home Depot to pay for all of this - let alone rent, utilities, food, and gas.

BLADES: $325-520
SKINS: $150-300
TIPS(for gloves): $10-40
GLOVES: $15-40
HELMETS: $70-100
TURN CABLE $150-180

Other costs include:

1) Ice time can vary from rink to rink. But here's an average. For an adult skater (19 and over) it costs $20 each time they skate. If a skater is on the ice 5 times a week, then they spend $100 a week on ice alone.
(....And that's not a Disneyland - 'All Day Ticket'. A session at S. Cal is one hour and 15 minutes)

2) travel to competitions. A skater like say, Lezleigh Jaworski, will typically travel to 4 American Cups and to the US Championships. If each trip costs $500 (airfare, hotel and food) that is a $2,500 budget for travel to competitions.
(I personally, think those figures for travel are way too light. As some of you know who flew in from the opposite coast for WC6 in SLC, airfare alone could cost you $500 rt)

3) gym membership and strength and condition coaching can run a lot. Some skaters find this type of support for about $100 a month or some $1,200 a year.
(An elite level skater I'll bet would be spending even more on personal trainers)

4) some skaters see nutritionists and or sports psychologists. You can imagine those costs!

5) Some skaters have private coaching sessions from the top coaches in the country.
(Cha-ching.) Approximately around $40 for a half hour on average. Group coaching will cost less per skater.

But enough about that, we’re on to other issues.

My question of ‘skater’ – when you say the top 6 skaters – are you saying 6 men and 6 women? Or 6 altogether, (in which case, that wouldn’t even fund a whole team to worlds). And if that many NT skaters are being left out in the cold – Lori GND and I need to talk to you!

Posted by mtnme at April 26, 2008 7:40 PM

$150 to $180 for a turn band? What a rip-off! Of course you'll be a broke speedskater if you're spending that much money on something like that.

Just go to a rock-climbing supply store and buy a length of cable and sew the ends together. $10.

Posted by Chris at April 26, 2008 8:50 PM

6 men and 6 women national team members will recieve funding. The other 3-4 girls and 3-4 guys on the NT will not revieve funding? That is our NATIONAL TEAM, training alone is a full time job, what about rent? $600 a month? food? atleast another $100-$200 a month?

Posted by skater at April 26, 2008 9:54 PM

This Rock Fund thing is good & helps a little, but will not be something steady to pay for the expensive an athlete needs every month.One skater at the time is reward at the time! Of course its better than nothing and appreciation will come with it.It doesn't matter where you go to train and the Virginia Speedskating opportunity is great! Again, if a athlete is not willing to do his/her best is not going to happen whwrever you go.When you want to be a Champion you will make your way to the podium.I really hope and the faith that athletes and their parents will be committed to put their heart and invest their time to the sport and we will have many Champions in the Future!

Posted by Luv Sci at April 26, 2008 11:15 PM

This has been quite a trip reading these comments. I agree with alot of what has been said here and some of it is delusional as well. Yes the $$$ is needed and yes you need the talent drive and heart of a lion to be a champion.
One thing that no one has brought up is how does a speedskating team in Virginia with volunteers come up with more money for a budget than USS. USS can't even rub two nickels together for athletes and they have "professionals" and all the advantages over a club in Virginia.

All I can say is that this reflects at the level of incompetence of USS. Steve Burton is either a very very very shrewd marketer or USS is extremely incompenent. I'm sure it's a little of both.

I've been in this sport for 30 years and never have seen anything like this so way to go Team VA. This is truly an Olympic miracle that matches the Miracle on Ice of 1980.

Posted by USSObserver at May 20, 2008 11:05 AM

It may be disappointing, but the situation isn't surprising to me. Never underestimate what a few committed, dedicated and passionate volunteers can accomplish. Those qualities of commitment, dedication and passion are precisely what 'professionals' and paid experts usually lack. For that and other reasons (eg, bureaucracy/red tape, hierarchy, process vs. results), volunteers can usually run rings around the so-called experts. Not just in speedskating mind you.

Posted by noelle at May 20, 2008 11:17 AM

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