VANCOUVER — U.S. speedskater
Chad Hedrick finished sixth in the men’s 1500 meters Feb. 20 in the last
individual race in his speedskating career.
Hedrick still has the team pursuit event Feb. 26-27 but has announced he is
retiring from speedskating after Vancouver.
“I think you can watch on video and know that my race looked a lot different
than it did in the 1000 meter,” Hedrick said of his 1000 meter bronze medal
performance. “I am so shocked that I did better in the 1000 meter than in the
1500 because I don’t even practice it, and that’s what’s tough for me to
swallow right here.”
Hedrick’s mission in Vancouver was to show the world that he is a different
person than he was in 2006, when he won three medals.
Once considered to be the
“Paris Hilton of speedskating” for his active nightlife, Hedrick has since
married and had a daughter; in recent months he also had become a Christian and
was baptized. On the top of his skating blade he has written the letters “CGIM,”
which stands for “See God in me,” as a reminder to himself that the world is
“This race doesn’t define me,” Hedrick said after the 1500 meters, a race which
he considered his best event.
Now, with his life rooted in Christ, “I am much
bigger than this race today,” he said.
In other weekend results from the Olympics, U.S. bobsled pilot John Napier and
his brakeman Steven Langton finished in 10th place in the two-man competition.
Napier also is a relatively new Christian and was baptized last year by pastor
Derek Spain at Lake Placid Baptist Church in Lake Placid, N.Y.
“I’m ecstatic about the finish of the race and how everything went,” Napier
said. “I’ve had more fun here than I’ve ever had in my life. We raced well, we
pushed well. I made a bunch of mistakes driving, but hopefully we can use it
all as practice, and hopefully the Lord gives me the skills and form to pull
together some successful runs and maybe get a medal for the guys (in the Feb.
26-27 four-man event).”
British skeleton racer Adam Pengilly, who attends an independent Baptist church
in his homeland, finished in 18th place in his event.
before the Winter Games that this season had been the most difficult of his
career, plagued by a knee injury and complications in recovering from that
injury. But his intention is to continue competing in the sport, because that’s
the path he believes the Lord has set before him.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Ellsworth, director of news and media relations at Union
University in Jackson, Tenn., is covering the 2010 Olympics for Baptist Press.)