Chad Hedrick on The Tonight Show

Chad Hedrick on the Tonight Show
今、アメリカにとって Chad はインラインと言うより、冬季オリンピック・トリノ大会で金メダル5個も取りそうな勢いがある期待の星になりました。TVなどメディアでの露出度はチーム一番でしょう。そして月曜日の夜、9日に全米3大ネットワークのエンターテーメント番組の一つ「Tonight Show」にゲスト出演しました。この番組の雰囲気は、ちょっと古いですが大橋巨泉「11PM」に似ています。番組に出たゲストのステータスは高く、またトリノで活躍すると、これから契約するインラインのメーカーも大変です。
Trino Olympic speedskater Chad Hedrick was interviewed by Jay Leno on the Tonight Show 9 Jan.
NBC The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
 the Tonight Show
Fortune cookie forecasts success for Hedrick
Superstitious Olympic speedskater likes chances to win 5 gold medals
 Chad Hedrick on The Tonight Show ) BURBANK, Calif. - Superstitious by nature, speedskater Chad Hedrick recently grabbed the last fortune cookie on the table and cracked it open. Before reading the slip of paper inside, he posed a question, asking, “How am I going to perform at the Olympics in Torino?” “It said, ‘Soon you’ll be standing on top of the world,”’ he said Monday night while appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” “I carry this with me everywhere I go.” Hedrick is the only American who qualified for five events at the Turin Games, giving him a chance to equal Eric Heiden’s record of five golds at one Winter Olympics.
“I’m very confident with my chances,” he said. Hedrick’s superstitions carry over to his choice of hotel room numbers. “I check the three digits and I add them all together,” he said. “For example, 146 — I add it all together and it equals 11. That means I’m going to do well at the competition because it’s all number ones. “I know it’s crazy, but that’s how I do it. Pretty deep, huh?” Leno cracked, “So if I wanted to ruin your chances, I could do it with a cookie and a bad hotel room.” Hedrick’s nickname is “The Exception,” given to him by friend and fellow speedskater Derek Parra. Chad Hedrick on The Tonight Show )
 Chad Hedrick on The Tonight Show “Everything that’s normal, I don’t do,” Hedrick explained. “Everybody that I skate with trains on bikes, probably 60, 80, 100 miles a week. Mine’s been sitting in my living room without pedals for about a year and a half.” Hedrick’s parents owned roller rinks across his native Texas, where he hung out six to eight hours daily starting when he was 18 months until he was 15. “I basically learned how to walk on roller skates,” he told Leno. “Instead of hiring a baby sitter, they put skates on me, tightened the wheels, and that’s how I learned how to walk.”
Hedrick switched from inline skating to the ice after the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Within 14 months, he became world champion. Making his late-night television debut was easy compared to standing on the starting line. “This was my first time doing this. There was no expectations,” he said afterward in his dressing room. “But a race is much more difficult. Plus, I’m just confident. I guess if you have some insecurities, you could freak out.”
AskAboutSkating.com Forum : Chad Hedrick on the Tonight Show
Hyper Race Bulletin Board : The Tonight Show with Chad Hedrick
Bont Skates Message Board and News : Chad Hedrick on Jay Leno
RaceReportsNet Open Forum : Chad

Inline Skating Notebook : Chad Hedrick on The NBC Today Show (Jan 26, 2006)
Inline Skating Notebook : Chad Hedrick on The Late Show (Feb 15, 2006)
 The Official Web Site of Chad Hedrick, Speed Skater not only Inline Skate but also Ice Skate.
 U.S. speedskater Chad Hedrick by Antonio Calanni/AP file
U.S. speedskater Chad Hedrick has already qualified for the Olympics in the 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters, as well as the new team pursuit event.
Chad Hedrick Forum by Kathie Fry : Yahoo! Groups Chad Hedrick fan club

USATODAY.com : 'The Exception' rules the speedskating oval (Dec. 22, 2005)
Washington Post Company : From Wheels to Blades, Hedrick Gains an Edge (Dec. 27, 2005)
MSNBC.com : Hedrick crosses over from inline skating to ice (Dec. 28, 2005)
Forbes.com Inc : Hedrick, Davis Poised for Olympic Showdown (Jan. 1, 2006)
U.S. puts : U.S. puts together strong, deep speedskating team (Jan. 8, 2006)
SignOnSanDiego.com : Fortune cookie forecasts Olympic success for Hedrick (Jan. 9, 2006)
SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS : Hedrick dazzles in switch from inline to speedskating (Jan. 24, 2006)
Miami.com : America's best high rollers (Feb. 05, 2006)
Fire on the ice ( by DAVID BARRON )

Spring product Chad Hedrick is poised to become the golden boy at the Turin Games, and he's not being shy about it

Chad Hedrick is Texan from head to toe, which means he's a good son, a faithful friend, a hard worker, a loyal teammate, patriotic, handsome, well-spoken, polite and friendly.

It also means that if you rub him the wrong way, he's got a stubborn streak from here to Dalhart.

And so when the wise men of his sport say there's no way he can do what he's doing, he smiles and does it again. When the powers-that-be shuffle paper to make him dance to their tune, he two-steps to his own. When the Dutch, Canadians and Germans poke and prod and tease, he responds in kind.

"It's Texas, man," Hedrick said. "They can poke at me all I want. I don't get poked. This is the real deal. I know what I can do, and they know what I can do.

"They may hate my attitude, but if I don't believe I can go out there and do my best all the time, then I'm wasting my time. I have pride in what I do. I work harder than anybody else, and I want to win more than anybody else."

If he performs as advertised next month at the 2006 Winter Olympics in five events, which happens to match the number of gold medals won by Eric Heiden in 1980, Chad Hedrick 28, of Spring, could become the linear descendent of Heiden, Bonnie Blair, Jean-Claude Killy, Bjorn Daehlie, Alberto Tomba, Katarina Witt, Johann Olav Koss, Lydia Skoblikova, Toni Sailer and Sonja Heine — the lasting face of the Turin Games.

If Hedrick hadn't already emerged full bore from the roller rinks and inline tracks that were his home away from home for 23 of his 28 years, surely Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports and Olympics, would have invented him.

He has taken on the Dutch speedskating juggernaut, for which the International Skating Union's World Cup is the World Series and the Winter Olympics are the Super Bowl, and made them like it.

Click on http://www.dsbbank.nl/, and you'll see Chad Hedrick, poster boy for DSB Bank, Holland's second-largest bank. Then try to imagine Chase or Bank of America featuring Irina Slutskaya, the Russian figure skating champion, or Janica Kostelic, the Croatian gold medalist in Alpine skiing, in their latest ad campaigns.

Still, there's tension when Hedrick faces the Dutch on the ice.

"The Dutch (press) say he's a roller skater, and they don't give him a lot of credit or respect," said Hedrick's training partner, 2002 gold medalist Derek Parra. "When they beat him or he has a bad race, they ask him how it feels to lose to this guy or that guy. Then, when he wins, they don't show up.

"Chad gets motivated by things like that. He works hard, he trains hard, and he deserves respect. For years, the U.S. skaters were mostly sprinters. Then I came along for middle distances. And now Chad has taken every race the Dutch have and destroyed it."

In the past year, Hedrick has set world records at three Olympic distances: 1,500 meters (1:42.78), 5,000 (6:09.68, since broken by Sven Kramer of the Netherlands at 6:08.78) and 10,000 (12:55.11), plus the 3,000 (3:39.02, since broken by Eskil Ervik of Norway at 3.37.28). He also will race in the 1,000 meters and in the new team pursuit race in Turin.

Although he celebrates each record, "I didn't get in this sport to set world records," he said. "I did it to win Olympic gold medals, and that's what I'm about to do. Three of the five events are very good opportunities for me to get gold medals, and we're going to go out there and do it.

"This is my calling. This is what I was put on Earth for. I've been skating since I was 18 months old, and this is what it was all about. I knew this was going to happen. All the hours in roller rinks and living away from my family and an abnormal life growing up, it's all worth it now."

An early start

Hedrick was born to skate. His parents, Paul and Wanda Hedrick, met as teenagers at a Houston skating rink. They have been married 33 years and for most of that time have owned or operated skating rinks in the Houston area, most recently Skate Champions Rollerworld north of FM 1960.

He was on skates for the first time at 17 months, then devoured the usual cycle of childhood sports — soccer at 4, T-ball, baseball, football, tennis and hockey before settling on roller skating and, later, inline skating.

"He was good at everything, and he wanted to choose something he would be great at," said Wanda Hedrick. "We couldn't believe he chose roller skating because he was at the rink every day of his life."

From the beginning, though, he did the sport his way.

"He went to his first training camp at the Olympic Training Center (in Colorado Springs, Colo.), and the report came back that said, 'Bad technique, but skates fast,' " Paul Hedrick said. "Five years later, everybody was trying to copy that technique."

Called the "double push," the technique propelled Hedrick to his first national roller skating championship at 16 and to more than 50 world inline championships beginning in 1994. No other skater has more than 15.

"He's always had to win at whatever he was doing," Paul Hedrick said. "We couldn't go bowling without having a knockdown drag out. If Chad wasn't winning, we weren't having fun."

Family fun, however, had to take second place as Hedrick grew as an inline champion. He attended Klein High School for two years before finishing at a private school as he traveled to more than two dozen countries around the world.

His current coach, Bart Schouten, said Hedrick still benefits from working with his father during his inline career.

"His dad never accepted excuses," Schouten said. "He always demanded the best out of him, and you can still see that work ethic and that discipline and that sports intelligence in Chad."

In 2002, while watching television at a Las Vegas casino as former inline champions Parra, KC Boutiette and Jennifer Rodriguez competed in the Winter Olympics, he decided to switch to the ice. Two years later, he became the first U.S. skater since 1988 to win the world all-around long-track championship and the third U.S. athlete, following Blair and Heiden, to win the Oscar Mathisen Memorial Trophy as the world's best skater.

"He has genetics, but he also has the psychological elements to be a champion," Heiden said. "He's a tough guy. He's very confident in what he does."

Declaring independence

That confidence has driven him to carve out his own path in his new sport. Nicknamed "The Exception" by Parra for his approaches to training and technique, Hedrick also capitalized on his inline fame to seek sponsorships from companies, including DSB Bank, outside the small group of firms associated with U.S. Speedskating, the sport's national governing body.

As a result of those sponsorships, which require Hedrick to display the DSB logo on his uniform, Hedrick was found to be in violation of his contract with the federation and denied the normal benefits associated with national team membership.

Shani Davis, a 2002 Winter Olympian in short-track speedskating, also chose to go his own route and has been involved in a bitter dispute with the national federation. The Hedricks, however, have taken a quieter approach.

"We love Chad. We support him in any way we can, and he has done the things we have asked him to do," said federation spokeswoman Melissa Scott. "From his perspective, he feels the benefits are greater for him to go outside the federation."

Source of strength

Hedrick, in fact, has drawn strength from the arrangement. He, Parra, 2002 Olympic gold medalist Chris Witty and other skaters hired Schouten as their coach and train together at the Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, where most of the federation-supported skaters also train.

"I'm not an outsider with anybody," Hedrick said. "I did what was best for me in my situation, and it was the best. My coaches understand me as a person and give me the freedom to do what I have to do, and we're going to revolutionize the sport."

Schouten said Hedrick has approached the potentially bitter split with "exactly the right attitude."

"I wish we were more a part of USA Speedskating, but the direction he has chosen is the right one," he said.

The Hedricks have a small group of supporters in Spring and north Houston who have raised money for training expenses and travel with Paul and Wanda Hedrick and their daughter, Natalie, a student at Texas A&M University, to races in the U.S. and Europe.

Hedrick's emergence from such unlikely surroundings for a winter-sports star has led to any number of characterizations as a brash, tough-talking, hard-drinking, fast-living Texan, particularly in the Dutch and Canadian media.

Toe to toe with skeptics

Schouten is occasionally irked by the portrayals. "Sometimes Chad shows up for practice late and not rested, but he's the hardest worker," he said. "Even if he has been out the night before, he still out-trains everybody."

Hedrick, however, seems to get a kick out of it. At a World Cup meet in suburban Salt Lake City last November, he traded line for line with Dutch reporters who goaded him for gold-medal predictions when he won and for excuses when he didn't.

"I don't see any room for excuses," he said during one exchange. "And I won't say I'm a (gold-medal) favorite. I haven't peaked yet. I'm still training. You'll see the real champion in February."

Wanda Hedrick said her son welcomes the skeptics and critics.

"His dad thinks the best way to get the fire out of Chad is to make him mad," she said. "With the Dutch saying they think Chad has peaked too early, they really lit a fire under his butt."

And as the Olympics approach, he's ready to fire back.

"All they say is that I've peaked, I've peaked," he said. "But everything we've done is designed to peak in February."

And if you're looking for tough talk, try this on for size: "I wouldn't be surprised if we (the U.S. team) come close to sweeping our events," he said.

Brash talk, indeed — as riveting as the possibility that a man from Spring could become an icon of winter.

Hedrick smiled. "I'm known for that," he said.

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
Chron.com : Fire on the ice (Jan. 22, 2006)

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