Monday, December 21, 2009

By Greg Ford, Sunday Star Times in New Zealand

Dobbin a chance for Winter Olympics medal

Ashley Bright is a busy man. No time to waste. In two months' time he will send a rag-tag bunch of relative no-names to the Winter Olympics. He's "busy, busy, busy", so cuts to the chase when Shane Dobbin pops up in conversation.

"It is a story from the gods really," he explains.

"Talented athlete. Transferred across from inline skating to ice and within 18 months of international competition he is ranked 13th in the world. That says volumes about him as an athlete. It is an incredibly tough sport."

Heard of Dobbin? Not many have. He is, as the boss of the Winter Olympics team explained, a former inline world champion skater from Palmerston North.

To read the full article go to:

Friday, December 18, 2009

ISU World Cup Salt lake City

Written by T Dobbin
Salt Lake is one of the best cities in the World to speed skate. After hosting the 2002 Winter Olympic Games it has some of the best facilities in the World for training as well as an extremely good training group based in Salt Lake for a number of years.

Salt Lakes ice conditions were slightly better than in Calgary, especially for the distance races. The ice was fast and gliding alot, more than ice does at other rinks in the World. As SLC was the final qualification for Countries to Qualify for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games it was the last chance for those Countries to confirm their Country positions. Some of the skaters that had already qualified their Country positions decided to head back to their home lands and train for their National Qualification to confirm which skaters will be skating at the Olympics in their Country position.

Shane Dobbin only participated in the 5 kilometer event on Saturday. He wanted to make sure that he could secure a Country position for New Zealand in the 5 kilometer event at the Olympics. Shane was set to skate in pair number four which was the first pair after the ice cleaning.

His tactics were different than any other race he has skated before setting out to hold back at the start and try to bring his lap times down by the end. See below his lap times:

200m 19.10 (19.1)
600m 49.23 (30.1)
1000m 1:19.37 (30.1)
1400m 1:49.64 (30.2)
1800m 2:19.27 (29.6)
2200m 2:49.19 (29.9)
2600m 3:18.97 (29.7)
3000m 3:48.39 (29.4)
3400m 4:17.81 (29.4)
3800m 4:47.43 (29.6)
4200m 5:17.23 (29.8)
4600m 5:47.14 (29.9)
5000m 6:17.78 (30.6)

Even though Shane set a new New Zealand National Record and a personal best time in this event he was still not 100% satisfied. Usually on faster ice it's better to get your lap times at the start and try to maintain them until the end because you glide much better, on better ice. However, it was still good enough for 11th place in the mens A grade division and hopefully ensures a Country spot for New Zealand in the 5 kilometer at the 2010 Winter Olympics. For full results go to

Shane is now back training in the Netherlands for the next two weeks. After Christmas he will head back to Salt Lake City to get some good training done there with a good training group. Shanes next competition is the Regional Qualifer which is going to be held in Calgary on the 23rd and 24th of January. The top seven skaters from this Regional Qualifer will be able to skate in the World All Round Championships in March in Heerenveen here in the Netherlands.

Keep posted for updates and a special thanks to Daniel Yeow for his great photos.

ISU World Cup Calgary

Written by T Dobbin
Finally after returning home this week after two World Cups the first being in Calgary and the second in Salt Lake City. Calgary was an experience having never skated their before but also the weather. The days before the competition there was a winter snow storm. So for three days the temperatures were reaching as low as minus 30 degrees C.

Having trained on the ice all week prior to the 5 kilometer on Saturday, the ice conditions were extremly fast. The weather and ice conditions changed for the race on Saturday with a high pressure system moving in which as we learnt can change the ice conditions alot.

Shane skated in the second pairing in Calgary, and was paired with Japanese skater Hiroki Hirako. Shane skated a clean race and went out as hard as he could and just tired to hold on the the finish. See below his race lap times:

200m 19.33 (19.3)
600m 48.57 (29.2)
1000m 1:17.78 (29.2)
1400m 1:47.50 (29.7)
1800m 2:17.78 (30.2)
2200m 2:48.10 (30.3)
2600m 3:18.16 (30.0)
3000m 3:48.10 (29.9)
3400m 4:18.04 (29.9)
3800m 4:48.51 (30.4)
4200m 5:19.04 (30.5)
4600m 5:49.87 (30.8)
5000m 6:20.97 (31.1)

This time was good enough place for 10th position in the A grade mens division and a New New Zealand National Record which was set earlier in the season in Berlin. For full results go to

Special Thanks to Daniel Yeow for his great photos.