Short Track Desert Classic Kicks off the Olympic Season

by US Speedskating

August 14-15 started off the 2021-22 Olympic season at the Short Track Desert Classic held at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, UT. 

Two days of exciting racing supplemented with camps held earlier in the week made for a great opportunity for skaters across the country to compete and learn from one another. Racing took place after the Junior Development Camp, and the Next GEN Camp the week leading up to Desert Classic. During both camps, skaters learned and practiced new skating techniques and racing strategies, and even got the opportunity to skate with and learn from the National Training Program athletes! Camp athletes were able to apply what they learned throughout the week to prepare for the two-day competition. 

“[This was a] good chance to train with others at the high levels, [the] National Team, and people from different states.” commented Hans, the father of
Ray and Darin Shim (Maple Valley, WA). “If [Ray] has a chance, he will always participate in camps.”

While the weekend did come with some falls and learning opportunities, it wasn’t anything
Louisiana Stahl (Brooklyn, NY) couldn’t handle. “Passing [is something that] I need to work on so I make sure I'm not getting messed up or penalized… I’m treating this more as a warm up race/practice race to get back into it, so no pressure.. right? That’s what I try to think of.” Stahl was smiling after her response. Needless to say, development athletes are happy and ready to get back into racing. 

The majority of the first day held qualifying rounds, while day two had the majority of final rounds. This competition was a great opportunity for members of the Short Track National Training Program to try out new racing techniques and strategies of their own.

“I’m feeling pretty good after [the competition], I went out there and just tried some new stuff...stuff I didn’t really do [before]. I didn't race any race the same as before so just swapping up my style, and how I raced, and I guess I did pretty well.” remarked
Ryan Pivirotto (Ann Arbor, MI) who took the win in the 1000m. “[I’m] Definitely taking new routes, and taking new paths is something I’ve wanted.”

The energy from the weekend was contagious as each skater was excited to be back on the starting line. “It feels good to be back, I’m excited to race,” said
Caleb Park (Irvine, CA). “Just to get a feel for racing since we haven’t raced in a while, and get us ready for upcoming Trials.”

Short Track Fall World Cup Qualifier will be held September 17th-19th, 2021 in Salt Lake City, UT.

here for results from this weekend's racing.

here for the 2021-2022 event calendar.