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FitzRandolph World Cup Racing Skin

Casey FitzRandolph’s racing skin worn during the 2003-2004 World Cup speed skating events.
(Museum object #2005.146.1)

While watching long-track speed skaters during the 2002 Olympics, commentator Bob Costas wondered why Wisconsin dominated the sport and concluded, "It must be the cheese." More likely Wisconsin’s Olympic skaters are the result of athletic skill, determination, and enthusiastic public support. One of those skaters, Casey FitzRandolph, who won a gold medal in 2002, is from Verona, Wisconsin. FitzRandolph has been competing internationally since he was nineteen. He wore this uniform, or "racing skin," during the 2003-2004 World Cup season. FitzRandolph did not win any medals at the World Cup that year, but did continue his long streak as one of the top male speed skating sprinters in the world.

When not racing in the Olympics, top speed skaters compete in World Cup events. The races are held around the world between November and February of each year. During these four months skaters travel back and forth between Japan, the Netherlands, Italy, the United States, and Germany to compete. Skaters earn points for each race in which they compete and at the end of the season the number of points determines the World Cup rankings. At the end of the 2003-2004 season, the year of the racing skin pictured, FitzRandolph placed tenth overall in the 500 meters and 18th overall in the 1000 meters.

FitzRandolph began skating one month before the 1980 Winter Olympics. He had wanted to play hockey, but after watching Eric Heiden win five individual gold medals in speed skating, FitzRandolph turned his sights to that sport. He joined the Madison Speed Skating Club and began skating on the same rinks Heiden had once used. Within a year FitzRandolph had won his first Wisconsin State Championship.

His success in speed skating continued through his years at Verona High School and Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. In 1995 he emerged as the United States sprint champion, a position he held three years in a row and later reclaimed in 2001. In 1998 he went to his first Olympic games in Nagano, Japan where he came in sixth in the 500 meters and seventh in the 1000 meters. When he competed at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 he again placed seventh in the 1000 meters, but this time won the gold medal in the 500 meters.

FitzRandolph comes from a long line of impressive speed skaters from Wisconsin. Besides him, six others born and raised in Wisconsin have won Olympic medals in the sport. Peter Mueller of Madison and Mequon won a gold medal in 1976, the same year Dan Immerfall of Madison won a bronze. Four years later Eric Heiden, also of Madison, took the Olympics by storm winning gold medals in all five speed skating events—the first, and still only, athlete to win five individual gold medals in a single Olympics. Heiden's sister Beth won a bronze that year. After several unsuccessful years of competition, Dan Jansen of West Allis finally won a gold medal at the 1994 Olympics. Chris Witty, also of West Allis, won silver and bronze medals in 1998 and, like FitzRandolph, won a gold in 2002.


[Sources: U.S. Speedskating; Casey FitzRandolph website.]

LAB


Posted on February 09, 2006

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