A new permanent exhibit sped into the Lake Placid Olympic Museum on May 23rd that celebrates one of the original Lake Placid winter sports — speed skating.
“Quest for Speed” features various displays explaining the history of the sport and its origins and impact in Lake Placid. Skaters profiled included local Olympic stars Charles Jewtraw and Jack Shea, and of course Wisconsin-native Eric Heiden, who won an unparalleled five gold medals at the 1980 Olympic Games. Museum director Alison Haas interviewed several champions in the sport to research the exhibit, in one case traveling to Salt Lake City to interview Eric Heiden. » Continue Reading.
All are invited to attend the 4th annual “Skate into the New Year” skating party on the Olympic Speed Skating Oval, a benefit for the Lake Placid Food Pantry, on December 31 from 10:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m.
“Skate into the New Year” began in 2008, the brainchild of Adirondack Almanack contributor Christie Sausa, a local skater who responded to complaints that there was “nothing to do” in Lake Placid on New Year’s Eve. The substance-free family-friendly event was a huge success the first year, with approximately 600 skaters in attendance. » Continue Reading.
As a winter athlete, it is inevitable that even in a town like Lake Placid, which is known for its accessibility to winter sports, there will be an off season. Athletes in all winter sports have an “in season”, where they are competing and training, and an “off season”, when there is less availability to the medium of their sport (snow, ice) and they must train differently.
Athletes approach training differently; however, there are certain methods of off season training which are uniform. Different sports emphasize different qualities; speed, agility, flexibility, or power. Some need more of one quality than others; for example, figure skaters require more flexibility than a speed skater or hockey player, while the focus in the latter sports is on speed and power. Therefore, the training varies from sport to sport. Figure skaters don’t tend to have a break from skating; most train all year round. What differs is the intensity of training. The off season for skaters is often from late spring until early fall, and this time period is spent developing new programs, building up strength and agility, and using other sports to train for the in-season. Many skaters practice dance, weight-lifting, cardio, stretching, and yoga in both on and off season, but the off season is a good time to practice more extracurricular activities. Figure skaters need agility but also flexibility; as such, their training program emphasizes those qualities. While most lift weights, they also practice plyometrics (which develops quickness and agility) and off ice jumps. Stretching is also an important part of their training routine. It is important to note that many skaters do not run or participate too much in activities that pound on their knees, as they already take a beating in figure skating training. Check out this link for more information about off ice training for figure skating.
Speed skaters require totally different training. The emphasis in the off season is on building strength for the upcoming season. Many don’t realize that speed skaters make their greatest strides from off season training, which incorporates “dryland” training, weight-lifting, and cardio. It is common for a speed skater to practice “low walks”, which is walking with the knees bent at a 90 degree angle to simulate the position achieved in speed skating. Watch this video of Sven Kramer, one of theWorld’s best long track speed skaters training in the off-season. For a glimpse of what it takes to train as an Olympic speed skater during the season, watch Apolo Ohno work out in this video.
Hockey requires speed, power, and agility. The training program off-season reflects this, and many hockey players spend their off-season lifting weights, working on cardiovascular fitness and agility. On ice and off ice training is year round, and the player’s training routine depends on what position they play.
Skiing has a few different sub-sports: alpine, freestyle, Nordic, and ski jumping. All have different emphasis and are very different in not only activity, but how training is approached. Ski jumping, the exciting sport in which the ski jumper flies down the ski jump, launches themselves in the air, and lands, requires precision and control. Explosive power is needed for the takeoff, and the legs must be able to support the force of landing. As such, ski jumpers practice plyometrics, lunges, squats, and stair running workouts.
Athletes who compete in alpine skiing usually train on the snow, but when that isn’t available, train dry land. This can take several forms, including sprints, plyometrics, and weights, all tailored to the common movements in alpine skiing.
Freestyle skiing combines several types of skills and a few types of skiing; aerial, moguls, and ski-cross. Aerials combine skiing and acrobatics, so athletes need to be coordinated and agile. Moguls, where the skier maneuvers around mounds of snow with tight turns, requires quickness and agility. Ski-cross is a discipline in which the skiers take off en-masse and navigate a course. They need to be technically proficient, quick off the start line, and able to maneuver around each other and terrain. Athletes can train with several aids such as trampolines, cross country simulation machines, and in Lake Placid, a pool for athletes to practice aerials into during the summer months. Other than that, skiiers train various ways including cycling, weight lifting, roller-skiing (like cross country skis, except with wheels) and plyometrics.
Nordic skiing athletes are more endurance based skiers whose sport consists of skiing various distances. Their training is similar to the other skiers but with more emphasis on endurance. They might also row, cycle, or in-line in the off season.
Biathlon is a sport which combines cross country skiing with target shooting. Biathlon athletes must combine the endurance and fast paced nature of cross country ski racing with the focused accuracy of target shooting. Arguably the most difficult part of biathlon is calming the mind and body after cross country racing to shoot the target. Racers practice the same type of training as cross country skiers, but also have to practice incredible mental focus.
Luge, the sport requiring athletes to slide down a track on a sled, requires a lot of upper body strength. The takeoff for the luge track is started by using the upper body to gain momentum while on the sled. Therefore, the off ice training often focuses on upper body strength. Mental fitness is also very important.
The sliding sports of skeleton and bobsled share similar components; both require the athlete to get a running start on the track before boarding the sled and navigating the track. The sports have a quick agile component as well as precision in steering the sled. Athletes competing in these sports typically train all year round, even without the benefit of ice on the track. Training methods include sprint workouts, cardio, plyometrics and weight lifting.
For more information on winter Olympic athletes, check out teamusa.org
Winter sports of all kinds are taking place in Lake Placid this weekend when the 2011 Empire State Games kick off on Friday February 25th, giving New York State athletes the opportunity to compete in their winter sports. The Olympic Style Opening Ceremonies, in which the athletes march into the arena with their respective sport teams, will be on Friday at 6 pm in the Olympic Center 1980 Herb Brooks arena. » Continue Reading.
Skating and skiing are the hot events this week in Lake Placid. Last weekend, speed skaters flocked to the Olympic Speed Skating Oval to participate in the second of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club Racing series, the Charles Jewtraw All Around.
Named for the first Winter Olympic Games gold medalist Charles Jewtraw, the oval hosted approximately 45 competitors from the US and Canada, competing in four different events throughout the weekend. For complete results, visit www.lakeplacidoval.com. The Lake Placid Ice Skating Institute (ISI) Championships is taking place this weekend at the Olympic Center. Hosted by Ice Skating Institute, which is “an international industry trade association encompassing all aspects of the ice skating industry”. ISI also promotes the sport of figure skating for recreation and hosts several competitions annually. The event is fun to watch, especially because of certain events such as synchronized skating (several skaters skating in a group together) and artistic, which emphasizes artistry. For more about ISI, visit their website www.skateisi.com. For more information about the Lake Placid ISI Championships, visit www.riverdaleice.com.
Skiing will be taking over Whiteface Mountain January 13th-15th for the St Lawrence University Winter Carnival, in which skiers from the Northeast and Canada compete in cross country skiing. For more information, visit www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.
The Lake Placid Speed Skating Club Race Series continues this weekend with the Charles Jewtraw All Around. The event if free, and spectators are encouraged to watch the live speed skating races on the Olympic Oval.
Named after local speed skater and 1924 Olympic Champion Charles Jewtraw, the event encompasses four races; the 500 meter (1 lap and a straightaway); the 1,000 meter (2 and a half laps); the 1500 meter (3 and ¾ laps); and the 3,000 meter race (approximately 7 laps).
The skater who performs the best in all four races will be the winner in their age categories. There are 11 age categories, from under 6 years old, to 79 plus. Saturday will start with the 500 meter and 1500 meter, and Sunday will conclude with the 1000 meter and the 3000 meter. For more information, visit the registration site at www.lakeplacidoval.com.
Long Track Marathon Speed Skating is coming to Lake Placid on December 18th and 19th for the annual Lake Placid Speed Skating Marathon. A Marathon Skating International (MSI) and Lake Placid Speed Skating Club event, the marathon is one of several in a series of ice marathons that take place throughout North America.
The race distances include 10K, 25K, and 40K, which translates to 25 laps, 40 laps, and 104 laps skated on the 400 meter Olympic Speed Skating Oval. Skaters ranging in age from 10-80 have been known to participate, and participants are from the United States and Canada. Marathon Skating is a popular discipline in North America but even more so in Europe. A popular race in Holland, Elfstedentocht, (also known as the eleven cities tour) started the tradition of skating long distances. Marathon Racing is especially popular in Canada, and many marathons are held there; one of the most well-known is the Big Rideau Lake Speed Skating Marathon in Portland, Ontario. Lake Placid is one of the few venues in the United States that hosts a skating marathon every year.
Lake Placid boasts a rich Olympic history, particularly in speed skating. In 1932 Jack Shea, a Lake Placid native, won the 500 and 1500 meter events. Another local athlete, Charles Jewtraw, trained on the oval, becoming the first gold medalist of the 500 meter event in the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924. Of course, possibly the best known speed skater to deliver a record-breaking performance was Eric Heiden, who won 5 gold medals in the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, the only skater to win 5 individual gold medals in the same Olympics. This week, Lake Placid was host to a different type of speed skating; a long-distance marathon. The Lake Placid Ice Marathon, sponsored by the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club and Marathon Skating International (MSI), was the second in a series of marathons hosted by MSI, and included three distances; the 10 K, the 25 K, and the 40 K. On the 400 M oval, the 10 K race equals 26 laps; the 25 K is 65 laps, and the 40 K equals 104 laps. At first glance these distances might seem daunting, but in Europe usually the smallest distance is 40 K, while the highest is 200 kilometers, depending on the location and size of the skating oval. Like running, the distances are measured in kilometers; surprisingly, many of the skaters race all three distances.
Speed skating originated in Holland, including the practice of marathon skating. The Dutch race Elfstedentocht (also known as the eleven cities tour), is a famous marathon that started the tradition of skating long distances. Eventually this form of skating took off in Canada and the United States, and now a dedicated group of skaters participate in both Canada and in select parts of the United States. One of the select locations in the US that hosts ice marathons is Lake Placid.
One of the organizations that contribute greatly to marathon skating is Marathon Skating International (MSI). Their mission is to promote the sport of marathon speed skating in North America, and ultimately establish marathon speed skating as a sport in the Olympic Games.
Many of the athletes this weekend were from Canada, although there were some skaters from Rochester, New York City, and New Jersey competing in the marathon. Although the Lake Placid oval hosted a session for the first time of the season the night before, the ice was in good condition for the races.
The organizing committee and MSI were pleased with how the event progressed this weekend. Race Director Linda Sausa was particularly pleased with the outcome. “The ice was beautiful, and even though it was cold Saturday morning (-8 F) the sun was shining and everyone had a positive race experience. We are grateful to ORDA for their determination with ice maintenance”.
Lake Placid will be hosting two more races this season; the Charles Jewtraw All Around race (January 9th and 10th) and the Jack Shea Sprints (February 6th and 7th).
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