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The team pursuit isn't an event I'd be comfortable calling. For all we know the Dutch men will fall in the quarters and France will end up winning gold.

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So, I think the Dutch just broke the team pursuit. In the men's semi-final, Poland threw the race to the Netherlands to save energy for the bronze medal race. In the women's semi-final, Japan threw the race to the Netherlands to save energy for the bronze medal race.

I don't think I've ever seen two teams that gave so little effort as the Polish men and the Japanese women. They looked like they where doing a training run. In the semi-finals of the Olympics.

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RE: US Speed Skating team disaster

Does anybody have any thoughts, comments, or inside scoop on what's been happening? Particularly the public comments by Maria Lamb against the leadership of the organization?

The suit wasn't the problem, that's pretty clear. It just looks like the team peaked too early in the season, tbh. They had really awesome results in the Fall world cups. Happens, they wouldn't be the first team to hit their peak too soon.

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RE: US Speed Skating team disaster

Does anybody have any thoughts, comments, or inside scoop on what's been happening? Particularly the public comments by Maria Lamb against the leadership of the organization?

Aside from the incompetence and corruption of U.S. Speedskating officials, I think there were two primary factors at play. The first was a lack of training at sea level. The U.S. team does most of its training in Salt Lake, which has much faster ice due to the altitude. Prior to 2002, the training base was in Milwaukee. Both Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen said that the team needs to do more training at Milwaukee in the future when the Games are at sea level. The second (and more important, IMO) issue was the pacing of the competitive season, and particularly the use of the Olympic Trials as an "all or nothing" qualification for the Games. In the past, the Olympic Trials have only determined a few spots, and most of the spots were determined by results on the World Cup. This year, all of the skaters had to peak in late-December for the Trials, because if they didn't place in the top spots, they didn't get to go to the Olympics. In the past, the U.S. skaters could have had a great season on the World Cup, rested, and then peaked for the Games. The schedule was off this year because of peaking for the Trials. NBC was the mastermind behind the Trials format, and the skaters weren't happy about it. I'm sure if they could go back, NBC would have gladly traded the Trials (which few people watched anyway) for several U.S speedskating medals at the Games.

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Aside from the incompetence and corruption of U.S. Speedskating officials, I think there were two primary factors at play. The first was a lack of training at sea level. The U.S. team does most of its training in Salt Lake, which has much faster ice due to the altitude. Prior to 2002, the training base was in Milwaukee. Both Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen said that the team needs to do more training at Milwaukee in the future when the Games are at sea level. The second (and more important, IMO) issue was the pacing of the competitive season, and particularly the use of the Olympic Trials as an "all or nothing" qualification for the Games. In the past, the Olympic Trials have only determined a few spots, and most of the spots were determined by results on the World Cup. This year, all of the skaters had to peak in late-December for the Trials, because if they didn't place in the top spots, they didn't get to go to the Olympics. In the past, the U.S. skaters could have had a great season on the World Cup, rested, and then peaked for the Games. The schedule was off this year because of peaking for the Trials. NBC was the mastermind behind the Trials format, and the skaters weren't happy about it. I'm sure if they could go back, NBC would have gladly traded the Trials (which few people watched anyway) for several U.S speedskating medals at the Games.

Thanks. Both of these points make a lot more sense to me than the suit nonsense. I wonder if any "lessons learned" will come out of this.

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Utter BS.

Netherlands had winner-take-all trials just after Christmas. They won 23 medals. Canada had trials too, won 2 surprise medals. Winner-take-all trials are commonplace amongst almost all major sports that rely on timing as a method to measure winners. Race based events like short track, biathlon and cross country tend to have pre-season trials to create a team and develop it.

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Utter BS.

Netherlands had winner-take-all trials just after Christmas. They won 23 medals. Canada had trials too, won 2 surprise medals. Winner-take-all trials are commonplace amongst almost all major sports that rely on timing as a method to measure winners. Race based events like short track, biathlon and cross country tend to have pre-season trials to create a team and develop it.

Well, do you have an alternate theory?

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Look at the times in 2014 compared to the 2013 World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships. Every American skated faster at the Olympics than they did in 2013. Honestly it just looks like other athletes had another gear that the Americans didn't.

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