Xtra Points

Local sports talk with the Gazette sports staff

Xtra Points: Nothing disappointing about Tucker Fredricks' career

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Eric Schmoldt
February 11, 2014


That was the buzz word Monday from Sochi, Russia, after the men's 500-meter speedskating competition.

But there should hardly be a feeling of disappointment going forward.

I woke up early—at least by my usual standards—on Monday morning, hoping to see friend and fellow 2002 Janesville Craig graduate, Tucker Fredricks, win his first Olympic medal.

A top-three finish in his event was anything but a given. But Fredricks told me before January's U.S. Olympic trials that this would be his final appearance on the largest stage in sports. And he has consistently ranked among the fastest skaters in the 500 for years.

After finishing 25th in Torino in 2006 and 12th in Vancouver four years later, going out with a medal in Sochi was the ultimate final goal.

It simply wasn't meant to be.

Fredricks skated his two 500-meter races in a combined 1:10.99. He  finished 26th out of 40.

“Worse than I thought,” Fredricks told Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shortly after the dust settled in Sochi. “I felt faster than what the time showed so that was kind of discouraging.”

Discouraging? Sure.

But let's hope that feeling lasted about as long as one of Tucker's races.

When we look back on his career, we won't remember him for having come up short of an Olympic medal.

We'll look back and remember that one of our own—for me, someone who I stood with on a Little League diamond—represented our country at the Olympics.

And he did it not just once but three times.

For more than a decade, Tucker made us proud by skating right with, and often beating, the fastest speedskaters in the world, in the sport's fastest event.

There's nothing disappointing about that.


Does this blog post sound familiar?

You may have heard it on WCLO AM 1230 today. It was the first installment of what I hope will be a long run of a feature that is currently being dubbed "Sports Page." I'll provide some insight into the area/state sports scene around 6:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tune in, won't you?

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