dimanche 26 octobre 2008

Short track has come a long way since the '90s

- But it's still a quirky cross between roller derby and NASCAR
Ed Willes, The Province - October 26, 2008

It says something about his sport but, at the ripe old age of 28, Francois-Louis Tremblay can look back at the evolution of short track speed skating the way Walter Hagen could look back at the evolution of professional golf. [...]

"I used to win the 500 in 41.9," says Tremblay, the three-time Olympic medallist from Alma, Que. "Now that would barely make the semifinals. Last week [at World Cup races in Salt Lake City], the winning time was 41.2. That was unthinkable five years ago." [...]
"I've seen pretty well all the ages of short track," says Tremblay. "It used to be a second-hand sport. Then we became a really important sport in Canada." [...]
The show, which drew a sparse gathering of 2,718 Saturday, is endlessly entertaining, compressing the speed and grace of long track into a race that looks like a cross between roller derby and NASCAR. There's also an element of officiating that is completely incomprehensible to everyone but the sport's stewards, which only adds to the fun.
Photograph by : Andy Clark , Reuters
Short track poster boy Apolo Anton Ohno of the U.S. leads the pack in his 1,000-metre semifinal Saturday but was strangely disqualified in the final.

Photograph by : Andy Clark , Reuters
Veteran Canadian Francois-Louis Tremblay (front) has seen his sport rise in importance, especially here.

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