Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ohno, Reutter Take Gold At Olympic Trials

Olympic Team Nominees Selected

MARQUETTE, Mich. – It was a bitter sweet finish to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Short Track Speedskating Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Berry Events Center on Northern Michigan University’s campus. Five-time Olympic medalist Apolo Anton Ohno of Seattle and newcomer Katherine Reutter of Champaign, Ill., took top honors for the men and women, respectively. However, their performances were overshadowed when J.R. Celski of Federal Way, Wash., hit the ice during the men’s 500-meter semifinals. An injury sustained during his fall prevented him from participating in the final races of the competition.

“He was injured when his blade cut into his leg,” explained U.S. Speedskating President Brad Goskowicz. “J.R. has been taken into surgery to determine the extent of his injury and assess the situation.”

Although Celski was unable to finish the 500m race or compete in the 1000m, his performance during prior days of competition secured his nomination to the Olympic Team.  

In addition to Celski and Ohno, Jordan Malone of Denton, Texas, Travis Jayner of Midland, Mich., and Simon Cho of Laurel, Md., also earned nominations to the men’s 2010 Olympic Team.

On the women’s side, Alyson Dudek of Hales Corners, Wis., Kimberly Derrick of Memphis, Tenn., Allison Baver of Sinking Springs, Pa., and Lana Gehring of Glenview, Ill., joined Reutter in being nominated to the women’s squad.

In the 500m, Ohno raced to a 41.928 clocking for gold. Jeff Simon of Las Vegas grabbed sliver at 41.967 and Jayner earned bronze at 42.025.

Ohno also finished first in the men’s 1000m, crossing the finish line in 1:33.306. It took a photo finish to discern who was second and third, but it was Anthony Lobello of Tallahassee, Fla., who crossed the finish line ahead of Simon with a time of 1:33.451 to 1:33.457.

Leading up to the women’s 500m final, Maria Garcia of Carson, Calif., took a hard fall during her semifinal heat. She was taken to the hospital to be observed and evaluated. Reutter was in the same semifinal heat, but she was able to overcome the incident with her concentration intact.

"It's all about how well you focus,” she said. “If the rink is too cold, it can be a disadvantage, but this rink is fine. I just tried to concentrate and stay loose so I would be ready when they called us to the line."

Reutter advanced to the final, where she continued to dominate. She passed Dudek with two laps remaining in the final heat to grab gold. Reutter clocked 44.303 while Dudek finished at 44.435.  Gehring crossed the finish line third at 45.434.

In the women’s 1000m, Derrick won gold with a time of 1:32.096. Reutter took silver with a time of 1:32.175. Baver earned bronze with a clocking of 1:32.208.