Day four of the USA Speedskating trials at the Pettit Center was jam-packed with 46 runs. Two of them belonged to a crowd favorite who’s keeping a family tradition alive.
Officials called Friday the most exciting day of the 2018 Long-Track Olympic Trials as six spots for Team U.S.A. were on the line in the 500-meter race.
- SPECIAL SECTION: 2018 Winter Olympics
As 17-year-old Blair Cruikshank got focused for her first Olympic Trials race, an entire fan section was on their feet chanting her name. They were all dressed in light blue, holding signs and American flags.
“Family, friends, relatives, schoolmates, the whole nine yards,” said Cruikshank’s mother Bonnie Blair.
Cruikshank’s name might just ring a bell given her family’s Olympic pedigree.
“It was the ‘Blair Bunch’ when I skated, it’s the ‘B-Bizzle’ Bunch now,” Blair said.
Cruikshank’s mother is one of the most decorated Olympians of all time in speed skating. She became a household name in the sport with five Olympic gold medals. Her father Dave Cruikshank competed in four Olympic Games as well. Now it’s time for a new Blair in the oval.
“I’m excited for her, it’s like a whole new thing,” Blair said.
Cruikshank was just one of dozens of men and women who competed in the 500-meter race.
“It’s a lap and a straight away,” said Randy Dean with the Pettit National Ice Center.
Dean said no matter who fans were there to support, the short race and quick pace brought plenty of energy.
“Those first one-hundred meters they’re going faster than Usain Bolt runs the 100 meters,” he said.
For the B-Bizzle bunch, the home-rink girl made them proud before the race, no matter the outcome.
“She’s made so much progress in such a short time and it’s just awesome to be here with her friends and family and people that support her,” said Cruikshank’s brother Grant.