ISU Transition Program: from Inline to Ice-Skating
ISU Transition Program: from Inline to Ice-Skating. It used to be that inline skating was distinct from ice skating; now the two sports are interwoven in a way that was previously unimaginable. To help athletes transition from the tarmac to ice, the ISU Development provides a well-received Transition Program. ISU Transition Program recipient Erin Jackson (USA) just earned an Olympic gold medal in the Women’s 500m race at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
In the summer, many speed skaters use inline skates to build a foundation for winter success on the ice. After pioneers like KC Boutiette, Derek Parra, and Chad Hedrick made the jump to ice skating in the 1990s, more Inline Skaters followed suit. Since Inline Skating is not on the Olympic schedule, many Inline Skaters turn to the ice to realize their Olympic goals.
Countries with no ice tradition
There are numerous places where inline skating is a popular sport despite having no ice-skating history. As a result, countries with a large pool of skilled skaters in Inline Skating, Hockey, or even Figure Skating can benefit from the ISU Transition Program, which is designed to help such athletes transition to Speed Skating.
In Salt Lake City in 2018, Ryan Shimabukuro (USA) was one of the inaugural coaches of the ISU Transition Program.
When he began coaching in 2017, he had skaters from four different countries: Colombia, Chinese Taipei, Argentina, and himself. In the beginning, skaters such as Victoria Rodriguez, Laura Gömez, Pedro Causil, Huang Yu-Ting, Tai Wei-Lin, and Erin Jackson joined the program.
PyeongChang 2018 Olympics
These five skaters have already qualified for PyeongChang (KOR) 2018, making Causil and Gomez the first Colombian Speed Skaters to compete at the Olympics.
As of 2018, Mitchell Whitmore, a former speed skater, serves as one of the rink’s coaches. When Ryan Shimabukuro (USA) took over as coach of the US Sprint team, he got involved with the ISU Transition Program. He had previously competed as a Speed Skater in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
From the outside, it may appear like switching from inline skating to ice skating is simple. In 2016, Erin Jackson made her ice skating debut, having previously won several World Championship medals in Inline Skating. Despite this, she finished 24th at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, 2.26s behind the winner, Nao Kodaira (JPN).
“I think most Inline Skaters moving over have a hard time focusing on the technique, since on Inline skates, they don’t really think about it,” says Mitchell Whitmore, a former Speed Skater who never had to make the move like an athlete because he started out as a Speed Skater. Coming to ice is much more of a deliberate action than it is for most people. Inline skating has a reputation for being more mentally taxing than ice skating, despite the fact that many Inline Skaters disagree.
As Whitmore puts it, “Inline skaters find out that you just can’t do as much… It’s very different.” They do a lot of volume on inline skates and have a lot of fun doing it. On the ice, you can’t skate as quickly as you do on land. As a result, you’ll need to find alternative ways to acquire the same amount of volume, such as running, bicycling, or even on Inline Skates.
This season, ISU transition skaters trained with Mitch Whitmore and his colleagues at Salt Lake City Olympic Oval in either the Development or Fast teams. In the ISU World Cup Speed Skating past season, skaters from Argentina, Colombia, and China won medals at the ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championship in Calgary, Canada. Other athletes who qualified for the 2022 Beijing Olympics included Laura Gömez (Colorado), Victoria Rodriguez (Argentina), and Huang Yu-Ting (Taiwan). Even Erin Jackson (USA) was able to win Olympic gold in the 500 meters, motivating many who are still hesitant to convert to ice.