Welcome to Peter Doucet's updates from the 2006 World Roller Speed Skating Championships coming to you direct from Anyang, Korea. Updates are planned to be posted on a nightly basis or perhaps less frequently once racing begins. The championships take place September 2nd to the 9th. Peter Doucet & the rest of the Canadian team will leave Canada on August 27th and return on September 11th.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Closing Thoughts

I have a vague recollection from the last night after the party of stumbling out of a club at 3am with Gavin Pollock from Great Britain. The earth was spinning quite a bit and the music was thumping outside of the club. People in the club were dancing, some very very close to each other. I needed to be at the hotel because only a few hours away, my flight back home awaited. Before going to the street to hail a taxi, we looked to our right coming out of the club and saw some little food stand with seats.

Gavin and I sat down, and soon, we found oursleves eating like mad-men. How do mad-men eat you ask? Well, if you'd seen Gavin and I eating the delicious things we were eating, then you'd know. The coolest part of that part of the night was when I looked up and saw some news show on tv. I was thinking 'Geez, the people they're interviewing look a lot like skaters'. And sure enough, they were. After the interview, they aired one of the women's road races.

You know, this was one of the hilights of the whole trip. Here I am, worlds is finished, the party is over, but I am sitting with a good friend eating some great newly discovered food that I have no idea what it is, it's 3am, but skating is on tv. It made me smile. Just everything at that moment was just right; the temperature, the smell in the air, the noise of people yelling and laughing, the background music, Gavin drunkingly munching away on the food and me saying that this is the best food I've ever tasted- it was all perfect.

So how'd the party go? It was awesome. Everyone was in such a good mood. After the marathon, some people went to the closing ceremony but I stayed back and cleaned my bearings. The dinner was ok, but there was no chairs! The speeches were long and they kept saying 'Please do not eat the food yet'. 'Ha' I though, 'try holding back a whole swarm of athletes who haven't eaten since the marathon'. The food was good, but the real party started after the dinner.

The word got out that everyone was going to meet at the hotel where the Americans and French were staying. There was a disco right beside, so it would all work out. We all somehow got there by 9pm, quite early. I got there in a small bus with friends from Ecuador, Mexico, and El Salvador. It was so much fun listening to them all talk and laugh on our way over. I'm lucky to spend time with people from different nations.

The disco was not yet open, so about 150 of us athletes, coaches, officials, managers, and friends started going through the streets, taking over stores, chanting, and just being happpy (and rowdy). For some of the skaters, this was the end of the season, so it was time to let the elastic band snap since they'd been wound up so tight with training and sacrifice. For others, the season continued with the WIC today, so they took it easy and took in the positive atmosphere and energy.

At worlds, skaters know a few things really well: How to skate, how to focus, and how to party. I think I've been to quite a few competitions, and skaters to everything right to the max.

AJ, Alex, and Jesse unloading their luggage from the bus at the airport in Korea. Once our luggage was cleared, security called Andrew, AJ, Jesse, and I into a small room to go over the contents of our suitcases. Ends up the bottles of spray ben-gay shouldn't be in our luggage. Well, one things led to the next, a few ben-gay bottles ended up on the floor, and we almost broke into a ben-gay fight in the security room.

Mount Fuji from the air. The view was breath-taking.

The American mothers of Micheal Cheeks and Brittany Bowe; we were on the same flight back to North America. They were sitting right behind Jesse and I. Mister Mantia was also a couple of seats back and he slept the whole time!

Jack Black in Nacho Libre; Nacho Libre was one of the 5 movies that Jesse and I watched on the flight back to North America. First we watched Poseidon, then X-Men, afer that An Inconvenient Truth, followed by The Family Stone and finally Nacho Libre.

This leaves us now with the 2006 world championships as officially over...in my books that is. I'm plannning on being in Colombia next year, so until the next time, skate well.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Marathon Part 2

I've uploaded the photos from the marathon here. Here's also a quick video of the senior men's marathon.

Senior women's lead pack in the closing laps

I took this photo of the senior women's sprint about 100-meters from the line. Had I waited about 1 more second, you would have seen like 15 skaters side by side! Colombia's Cecilia Baena (#87) won the gold.

Senior men's start line, about 120 skaters braved the rain and cold.

Eventual winner of the men's senior marathon Joey Mantia (USA) is followed by Spain's G. Lerga (in yellow).

I like this shot that Jesse took of me in front of my group. This was the first marathon at worlds that I didn't get lapped out on!

Colombia's Jorge Botero in his last race at worlds before he retires, leading Italy, Scott Alridge, another Italian, and a skater from Australia (I can't tell if it's Mick Byrne or Danny Finster).

Marathon is Over

Marathon is over. Jesse was 15th in junior men. I finished, first ever marathon at world that I finish, I think 72nd. It was pouring during the races. All races were won in BIG sprints. Great pictures coming in a couple of days plus some videos. We're off to the party! Oh, and I traded for a few skin suits.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Final Day of Road Racing: Relays

The relays took place today. Both the Canadian junior (Jesse, Jade, Alex) and senior (Andrew, AJ, and I) managed to finish the heats. For my relay, we lucked out and the USA, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and Netherlands took it easy, so we were able to stay in the pack for 8 1/2 of the 12 1/2 laps. The pace got too quick for AJ and a gap openned up, but we managed to stay in and finish.

I hope you're checking out the videos on PatinCarrera. They're awesome. Also, I've got my videos and photos linked in the bar to the right.

Oh, before I go on, I forgot to talk about yersterday's 20km elimination race. It was pretty nutty because they lined all of us, 60 or so skaters, in a specific order. The race was started but a false start was called! Everyone was laughing it off. We all sort of went back to our original spots, and after some confusion, the race was off. I was really happy because I was able to stay with the pack the entire time and actually feel like I could keep the pace all day long. I was not moving up much though. I skated 19 of the 50 laps in the pack and I was called off then. One of my goals was to get eliminated from the pack rather than being dropped, and I met that goal. They did put me 4 or 5 positions lower in the results for some strange reason.

Jesse Pauley, Jade Pauley, Alex D'mello, and Alex Perrie before the junior men's relay.

Race officials preparing the timing system before the relays begin.

Senior women's relay heats: top 3 teams move on to the final here, including the USA, Korea, and Chinese Taipei.

Alex D'mello was molded for Luigino boots. Andrew, Sigrid, Jesse, and Jade went to get molded for Schankel boots.

Junior women's relay final: they are starting to crank it up. The USA was poised to win the gold medal, but the skater crashed less than 50-meters to the finish line. The gold medal went to Colmbia, with Argentina taking the silver and Germany the bronze.

Senior women's relay early on. I was eating my dinner and taking pictures, and next thing I knew, the Colombian team was quite a ways back and the Chinese Taipei team was disqualified. The USA won the gold medal.

The spirit of sportsmanship- Ceclia Baena went over and congratulated the USA team after their victory in the senior women's relay.

Dash to the line for the gold medal! This is about 20 meters before the line. New Zealand won the race, Italy placed 2nd, and the USA 3rd. New Zealand also won the gold in the junior men's relay. What a night for them!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Road: Day 2

I am not trying to make myself seem like a hero. In fact, if you look at the results list, you'll usually find me near the top of the bottom 1/3 of the resutls. Neverthelss, I love this picture. AJ Perrie took this picture, my 'claim to fame in front of Luca Presti in a 500', during my 500-meter heat. Once we started, I noticed the pace was quite slow for the first 100-something meters. I had a feeling that I wouldn't be finishing ahead of Luca Presti, Vincent Henry, or Alan from Mexico, so I went to the front and pulled so that I could bring my time down and earn a better ranking. Skating for time does work; I placed 26th in the 1000-meter race...mind you there were a couple of DQ's and one slow heat. Still, for us in Canada, each position counts, and everyone on the Canadian team, although closer to the bottom of the results page than the top, is trying their best at placing the highest possible. Remember this; we fundraised ourselves to get here and each got about $300 or so. The coach (Alex Perrie) and manager (Tyler Congdon) receive minimal financial support as well.

USA's Joey Mantia following France's Thomas Boucher- Mantia is an animal; he set the world record in the 10km last night (13:46) and set the world record in the quarter finals of the 500-meter today as well as in the semi-finals (high 38)!

One of the giants of our sport: Italian sprinter Gregory Duggento shows off his hardware that he collected at this year’s world championships.

The junior women coming to the line during the elimination race.

A skater from Chinese-Taipei leads the way. You can make out Australia’s Mick Byrne in the white as well as USA’s Joey Mantia and Dane Lewis on the right.

This is the most perfect picture I have ever taken. After I was eliminated, I cooled down and then watched the race from the sidelines. Jesse Pauley had my camera and gave it to me, so I started to shoot the race. I love this photo. It’s of Joey Mantia finishing the 20km elimination race. He stopped skating before the line and realized that there was someone (Colombia's Nelson Garzon) challenging him for the victory, so after he turned back, he broke out in this hawk.

There was some kind of soccer game going on. If someone broke one of the rules, then the person had to stand against the wall and get the ball kicked at them. Quite a large crowd looked on. Amongst other exciting hapennings, there was a great wrestling match in the Mexican's tent between Mystico and Senior Loco. Senor Loco won the match and keeps the championships belt. I know Senior Loco quite well, he's a good guy.

Italian skaters watching the medal presentation for the 20km eliminations right before the 500-meter sprint finals. Italian skater Patricio Triberio (spelling) won the 500-meter sprint and was mobbed buy his country mates who were just so pleased to have a well earned gold medal going to Italy.

Italy’s Patricio Triberio on his way to winning the senior men’s 500-meter sprint.

Joey Mantia’s father stands proud during the US national anthem playing for his son’s victory in the 20km elimination race.

Road: Day 1

The first day of road racing was as expected: fast. Gregory Duggento broke his own 200-meter world record, not only once, but twice with a final time of 16.209! For the 200's, Andrew skated a mid-19, AJ a high 19, Alex and Jade mid 20's, and Sigrid skated a low 22.

The elimination races were f-a-s-t. The junior men skated in 14:22, but get this: the senior men finished in 13:45! That's crazy! I was looking at the splits and the times were 32's, with a few laps in the low 30's.

A rival from Mexico named Mystico and I after our wrestling match.

A junior skater from Korea finishing his 200-meter time trial.

Sigrid Ziegler mid-way through her 200-meter sprint.

Great Brittain's Vincent Henry flying through the air.

Dane Lewis qualified for the 200-meter final. Here is the form of his start in 16 pictures. Earlier, Italian sprinter Gregory Duggento broke his own 200-meter world record in a time of 16.317.

The afternoon was quite 'fun'. A bengay spray bottle fight at the hotel, jamming up Alex & AJ Perrie's room door, and a wet towel/ throwing things around fight in the athlete's tent helped release some tension. Mystico egged many of us on and ended up getting the short end of the stick in terms of wrestling. AJ Perrie got nailed in the face by a flying towel.

German skater Matthias Schwierz during the 200-meter final skating in 16.776.

Beautiful to see: Italian Gregory Duggento was in tears (of joy) after winning the 200-meter in world record time.

Argentina skaters out on a break earning enough points to ensure that Silvina Posada earned the gold.

Senior men's 10km points race action.

Alrighty; off to bed in about 1/2 hour. On the menu for tomorrow are the 500's and the 20km elimination races.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Last Day of Track Racing

The last day of track was another action packed day. Despite a lengthy rain delay, things were quite heated as the action moved to the 500-meter and relay races.

I know that you know this guy between Jesse and I: It’s Mau Pan Lau, all the way from Montreal! He was shouting ‘Peter, Peter!’ right when I was cooling down on the road after our relay heat. I was so happy to see him. He was in Hong Kong for a few months and now he's on his way back home. You can look for him at the WIC in Suzhou, China next week.

There was a whole situation where a Colombian skaters was disqualified from his semi-final but after a protest, was allowed to move on to the final. Joey Mantia was supposedly disqualified for the same infraction, but the protest was not upheld. The crowd got behind Mantia’s back, shouting ‘Mantia! Mantia!’ as he skated around. Watching him from the stands, he was very composed and a class act.

The other fun thing that happened was in the athlete’s area. The Outback restaurant has been providing teams with boxes of bread each day. Today was different because one piece of bread flew from one of the change areas into another country’s changing area, and a massive food fight erupted. It continued until a bunch of security guards in suits rushed into the huge tent to control the situation. This brought back memories from the massive food fight at the party at the 2000 world championships in Barrancabermeja, Colombia.

Jesse Pauley getting his posted signed by Luca Presti.

Relays took place today. The USA broke out of their what I would call ‘medal slump’ and earned a few including a win the senior women’s race with Jessica Smith out-hawking Colombia’s superstar Cecilia Baena. There were of course a few crashed taking teams out of contention including Italy in the junior men’s and Chinese-Taipei in the senior women’s. The Korean junior men won the relay by a significant margin, with the finishing skater giving high fives to the crowd as he came up to the finishing straight.

Chris Creveling skating in the 500-meter quarter final.

Andrew Gonzales ahead of Cecilia Baena and Jessica Smith- Smith crashed right after I took this picture.

Kalon Dobbin won the senior men’s 500-meter final, stopping a Colombian medal domination. I was talking with Jesse Pauley while we were watching the Colombian team win I think 5 medals in the span of about 5-minutes. The Colombians won more medals in 5 minutes than Canada has won in 30 years! That makes them probably about a billion times better than us!

Kalon Dobbin after his victory in the 500-meter.

Bodies all over the place during the senior women’s relay final.

USA senior women holding their flag up high and proud after their victory in the relay.

The French relay team leads the way in the senior men’s relay on their way to a gold medal.

Jade and Alex skated their 500’s in low 48’s. I think Andrew was in the 47’s while AJ was in the 51’s. I think Sigrid came in the 54’s, but the track was wet- she skated right before the rain delay was called, so she got the short end of the stick with this one. The junior guys skated a good relay heat and just missed finishing it by about 1-lap. The seniors, Andrew, AJ, and I lasted 7 ½ laps. Eek, the other countries are fast!

The skaters from the Netherlands were happy. They had a good reason. They placed 2nd in the junior men’s relay final! It was so nice to see such joy from these guys who put together a solid race. This is their first ever junior world medal.

Jesse Pauley with Chinese Taipei’s Chris. Jesse and Chris are going to trade skin suits after the uniform. Each time a skater from Chinese Taipei crashes, Jesse is quite concerned whether it is Chris or not.

Today; rest day. Yay! Over and out!