Welcome! My name is Michael Gilday and I am a Short Track Speedskater from Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. I currently train at the National Training Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I've created this blog primarily to let family and friends know about competitions and travel. I also hope to educate a bit about short track and maybe even entertain. Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

An Article- No more Hero Worship

I came across this article today. It was written by American x-c skier Kris Freeman on the Fasterskier website. Kris has an interesting message, and one that I think can be applied to short track. I doubt there is any skater out there who has not compared what they do and how they do it to Korean skaters. It is important to learn from the best, but also important to realize that Canadians don't need to do exactly what the Koreans do to win. We can learn from them, analyze and be better!

Take a read:

"I check fasterskier regularly because I love this sport and there are frequently informative updates and news on the website. Over the past few years it has become a legitimate, unbiased site that has moved away from worshiping Norway, Finland or whatever other country was having dominate results at the time.

As the most popular xc skiing site in North America I think this is very important. Developing athletes should know what is going on in the skiing world without the mythical context that used to plague much of North America’s xc ski journalism.

When I was coming up as a junior I heard rumors that American skiers couldn’t ski Bjorn Daehlie’s 10k pace for 100 meters. I heard that US skiers could never again achieve what Bill Koch did in 1976. I heard about incredible training plans that the Scandanavians followed, 1200 hours with level four intervals everyday etc. These rumors made believing that a US skier could be a red group skier let alone a world or Olympic medalist difficult to believe.

At my first Olympics in Utah what I learned about international ski racing is that all of my competitors are just men. They train, they race, some win, some lose but they are all just men.

This realization was very important to my subsequent racing career. I was able to ignore over-blown hype about mythical Norseman and German “ski-gods.” I could focus on real training plans and focus my energy on succeeding at the highest level.

Over the past decade I have seen the xc-skiing climate in America change as more and more racers have seen through the fog of hype that has surrounded international racing. Clear focus has enabled the US Ski Team to post stronger and stronger results. There is no more excitement around simply scoring world cup points. The excitement is gone from a top 20 finish. A top 10 is met with congratulations but only a medal is met with true jubilation as it was for Kikkan last year in Liberec. This is the way it should be.

XC skiing in America holds itself to higher standing than it has in several decades. It could be seen this past weekend in Canmore when the nations group wasn’t here to gawk or spectate but to put there heads down and race. I saw a focus and confidence from our skiers that I have not seen in my nine years with the ski team. I hope every skier in the US will have this kind of focus soon. There is no more time for hero worship, its time to become heroes ourselves."


Jonathon Cavar said...

Awesome post Michael. Thanks for passing this along. It relates very well with what most athletes encounter as they work their way up the ranking list, attempting to dethrone the ones currently on top.

You must believe you can beat the best in order to become the best.


Ellen said...

Mike! I'm doing a school project on you and I have some questions... Where were you born and where do you live now? How did you become an (almost) Olympian? Describe the highlights of you career so far? Give a brief description of short-track speed skating. Puh-leese write back! My project is due the 17th of February!


Denise said...

Interesting article! Definitely applies to Canadian vs Europeans in cycling. I'm definitely not going to complain about having to go to Tucson too ride ha, pans I'm coming back before the games end to head up to whistler. It's rough. You staying in Calgary?

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you blogging again...thought provoking article and great analogy to Koreans. This is a proven way to overcome any adversary.

MG said...


Can you send me your e-mail address so I can answer your questions? I think it would be easier that way!


Ellen said...

I'm so glad you noticed by blog post! My sister and i started screaming when we heard. my email is fhgoalie17@gmail.com Hope to hear soon!

LMarceau said...

Un article vraiment inspirant! J'aime ça quand tu mets des choses comme ça! Continue! :)

Ah, je viens de voir que t'as des fans ha! Elles ont criées... haha. Bon ok, assez rigolé! :P

Ça fait longtemps j'ai pas eu de tes nouvelles! On se parlera sur facebook la!