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US Speedskating Looks Ahead, Hopes to Leave Sochi in the Past

Dean Mouhtaropoulos
Getty Images
Brittany Bowe of USA (L) and Heather Richardson-Bergsma of USA compete in the 1000m Ladies race during day two of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating held at Thialf Ice Arena on December 12, 2015 in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

A total of ten Olympians are among the more than ninety long-track speedskaters at the Pettit National Ice Center this weekend for the US National Long Track Championships. The competition comes two years before the next Winter Games, and two years after the US's much-publicized struggles at the Sochi Games.

Leaders in the sport are hopeful the team's on-ice challenges and its off-ice issues, such as skate tampering accusations and a sexual misconduct investigation into a former Olympian and team president, are in the past. US Speedskating Executive Director Ted Morris is ready for a new year of competition with an even better prepared team.

"One of the biggest things that we did coming out of Sochi is really sit down and do a very hard detailed look at what we did right and what we did wrong during that season," says Morris. "You gotta remember we had one of the most successful World Cup seasons we had ever had, but of course you've got to perform at the Olympics and we didn't."

With some reorganization and scientific looks at what was successful - from training to skin suits - Morris says the whole team is ready to put in the extra training needed to make sure they are ready for the next Winter Games.

"We didn’t spend enough time at sea level. And that’s why Milwaukee’s going to be seeing a lot more of our national team here in the next coming years," he says. "We’re fast on fast ice but we’ve got to be fast on sea level ice as well."