It's a sport that fulfils the need for speed and is one of the most exciting winter sports to watch on race days.
Australia has always been competitive in the international mix and the 2016/17 Aussie short trackers may be small in collective numbers, but the tight-knit group is big on passion and commitment.
The World Cup season is underway and with two events down, our star female speedster Deanna Lockett raced to 12th in the first World Cup in Calgary, whilst Alex Bryant, Pierre Boda and Andy Jung all find themselves within the top 20 now after the second World Cup in Salt Lake City – and that’s a promising start says coach Nic Cicero.
“We’ve had some really positive results and we’ve worked on a strategy to make that happen,” Cicero said. “Alex has had a PB (17th) and national record, Pierre made it into the top 20 by World Cup 2 as did Andy (18th).”
“We’ve been making a few technical changes to do with tracks and its really paying dividends. I’ve been very pleased.”
According to Cicero, Andy Jung is “as fast as hell”. “He’s quick – now it’s a matter of confidence and making sure he capitalises on his fast start.”
The quieter, and at just 23 the eldest, of the three skaters who share a house in their training base in Salt Lake City is Pierre Boda. “He’s strong. There’s a few things to clean up and watch for on the technical side,” says Cicero.
In Short Track, the word ‘technical’ comes up a lot. For spectators, the technical side takes a back seat to the sheer thrill of four guys racing on a tight track – risking life and limb, literally.
Short Track Speed Skaters are often quietly spoken, but there’s a ferocity within and when that passion is exposed and the racing begins, spectators are the beneficiaries.
World Cup 3 will be held in Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai, China December 9 to 11.
Photo: Andy Jung. image courtesy @vintageyouthphotography