Race Report: 2005 Outdoor Nationals
Observations from the 2005 Outdoor National Championships
If you are looking for Jim White, don't go knocking on his door. He's not the stay-at-home type.
Instead, look for Jim wherever speed skaters are congregating.
A master skater and a tireless advocate for the sport, he attends some 30 to 40 speed skating events -- both inline and ice -- a year; sometimes as a skater, sometimes as a race official; sometimes as both, although, of course, not simultaneously.
Most recently, Jim pitched in as an official at the Outdoor National Championships, which ended Tuesday in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Outdoor Nationals, as they are called, is the event that determines which skaters will represent the United States at the Inline World Championships (Aug. 26th through Sept. 2nd in Suzhou, China).
The Planet would have liked to have been able to cover Outdoor Nationals this year, but couldn't afford it.
But fortunately, Jim White generously offered to share his observations.
We talked to him this morning as he drove through Nebraska on his way back to his home in Wisconsin.
Here's what he had to say ... (And thanks, Jim!):
"The meet was a reflection of a healthy sport. The number of skaters (about 189, in all) was up by about 15 percent from last year. And I think it was also up last year. So we seem to be growing.
"There was quite a bit of diversity. I saw young skaters and old, a good mix of males and females, experienced and new skaters. And there were skaters from lots of different parts of the country.
"There were a number of records broken. In at least one case, there was a record broken three or four times in one event.
"There was some local press coverage. We had television crews there a couple times. I think that's important. People should know when we have an event going on in their area."
"Two years ago, Tony Muse and I were the only ones who came here with Big Wheels. But this year, they were very obvious -- even predominant, particularly among the older guys.
"There were still some smaller wheels, especially among the girls and younger skaters. But lots of people were using 100 mm wheels, and there were also some 90s, and a lot of people were doing well on them."
(Robert: Were records being set on the Big Wheels?)
"I can't say that definitively; I wasn't watching for that specifically. But there were so many people using 100s, that I suspect that that was one reason for the new records. ... Another is that the skaters are just getting better technically."
Full Results of the Outdoor Nationals (USA Roller Sports web site)
Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson