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Face Off: Speed skating is best

Jenna Williams, Co-editor in Chief

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We can all agree that the Summer Olympics are, of course, superior to the Winter Olympics. I would offer my most profuse apologies, but it’s just the truth. Personally, my favorite overall Olympic sport is track and field. I love watching sprinters bolt off the block (I couldn’t help the Usain pun), the 800ers endure Rigor Mortis Bend twice and the marathoners surpass all human limitations. Now, unfortunately we don’t get track and field in the Winter Olympics, but we do get something close: speed skating. Speed skating is essentially sprinting, only on ice and in a fancy suit.

Speed skaters combine endurance and speed to surpass everyone’s expectations. You think you have competition when you watch hockey, figure skating, curling, or any sport chosen from the plethora of options, but you haven’t seen true fire until you watch Olympic speed skating. Juxtaposing grace and determination, these skaters show incredible skill. If you’ve ever seen Apolo Ohno (speed skaters also have the most legendary names, but I digress) compete, you know speed skating is an Olympic event well worth your time. And yes, I’m sure my opposition will immediately reference the awe-inspiring 1980 Miracle on Ice game (I’ve seen the movie), the skill of Nathan Chen (I myself have always been a fan), and whatever they actually do in curling, but speed skating still takes the cake.

Not only does the sport take the prize, with this Winter Olympics, so does the United States. While Team USA hadn’t won a medal in individual speed skating in eight long years, this week John-Henry Krueger took the silver and showed his skill in a legendary sport.

A history as varied as its competitors, speed skating joined the Games in 1924 and has only grown more popular since. The Dutch began using speed skating as far back as the 13th century, and its practitioners included kings of England, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon III according to olympic.org. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

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