Olympic Silver and Bronze medals, Vancouver Olympics, 2010
Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, Torina Olympics 2006
Chad Hedrick: The Heart of an Olympian
Chad Hedrick was one of the breakout stars of the Torino Games, earning a medal of each color: gold in the 5000m, silver in the 10,000m and bronze in the 1500m. He didn't accomplish his goal of matching Eric Heiden's record five medals in a single Olympics, but Chad was happy with his haul.
After Torino, Hedrick took eight months off and had to decide whether he wanted to return to the sport at all. When he began competing again in '06-'07, he found himself in an unfamiliar position: off the podium. Admittedly not in great shape, Hedrick was 24th in the 5000m at the 2007 World Single Distance Championships.
Hedrick prided himself on unconventional training methods and he had plenty of work to do if he wanted to regain his championship form. Hedrick buckled down with a new coach and ditched his old habits. In 2007 U.S. Speedskating hired Dutchman Bart Veldkamp, a four-time Olympian, who persuaded Hedrick to begin weight-lifting and cycling as part of his training. The new regimen paid off at the 2008 World Allround Championships, where Hedrick finished fourth, a huge improvement on his 14th-place finish in 2007.
After the 2008-09 season, Hedrick again went for a training overhaul. He said the intensity of weight training and cycling left him exhausted at races so Hedrick shifted back to his inline training program, with an emphasis on quick turnover and plyometrics. It paid off. Hedrick won the silver and bronze medals in speed skating in Vancouver in February 2010.
Off the ice, things have changed for Hedrick. In June 2008, he married Lynsey Adams. The planning process and wedding were filmed for an episode of the Style Network reality show Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? and aired in fall 2008. they had their first child, Hadley, in March 2009.
Hedrick grew up in a Baptist home but he wasn’t a regular church goer for much of his youth because he traveled so much for skating. When he and Lynsey got married, they started practicing their faith and were baptized last year. “I set the goal for Gold in Vancouver,” says Hedrick. “I left not even conquering the world, but I am not defined by how fast I skate. After finding Christ, life is so much more than it used to be.”
IN THE FAMILY
Long before Hedrick laced up his clap skates, he was an inline skating star. The 50-time inline world champion, who is generally regarded as the best inline skater in history, has a brand of inline skating wheels -- the Hyper Chad Hedrick Micro -- named after him. Hedrick, who first put on roller skates at age 2, also has his own signature inline move called the "double push," where he simultaneously uses both legs to accelerate. He has adapted the maneuver to the ice, where speed skaters usually push on one leg at a time.
Skating is the family business with the Hedrick clan. His father, Paul, worked at a roller rink as a young man, and owns roller rinks in the Houston area called Champions Roller World. Paul, who once was his son's inline skating coach, occasionally attends his races where he wears his trademark cowboy hat. His mother, Wanda, works at the roller rink on the weekends. As a child, Hedrick played ice hockey which he credits for helping him get his basic feel for the ice in speed skating.
"People thought I was nuts for playing hockey in Texas," Hedrick says. He started playing because his best friend was from Canada and was an avid hockey player.
Hedrick originally tried speed skating in 1997 when he visited to Calgary to train, but it didn't last long because he didn't think the coaches were ready to accept inline skaters. At that time American K.C. Boutiette had made a successful transition from inline skating to speed skating at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, but the swarm of inline skaters had yet to make the switch to the ice. Hedrick gave speed skating another chance when he saw Parra win the 1500m at the 2002 Salt Lake Games. After watching Parra break the world record, Hedrick realized he had accomplished everything he could in inline and decided to make the switch. He moved out of his Houston home, went into semi-retirement from inline and relocated to Utah to focus on speed skating.
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