The Associated Press
Tucsonan Sky Christopherson takes U.S. Olympic track trial team sprint
The Associated Press
FRISCO, Texas – One night after winning the kilometer time trial, Sky Christopherson anchored the winning the team sprint in the U.S. Olympic track trials.
The Tucsonan helped Team UPS win the event in 47.002 seconds. Marty Nothstein of Trexlertown, Pa., was one of three racers on the Team USA squad that finished second (47.147). The race pits two teams, each made of three sprinters, over three laps.
Meanwhile, Erin Hartwell made a big stride in his cycling career shift last night when he won the men’s individual pursuit.
Hartwell, of Indianapolis, is the only American cyclist to win medals in consecutive Olympics. However, his bronze medal in Barcelona and his silver in Atlanta came in the kilometer time trial, a sprint race.
The four-kilometer individual pursuit is an endurance event. Hartwell, 30, wouldn’t predict another Olympic medal, but he said the victory was a step toward the Sydney Games.
”The Olympics are in September and it’s only April,” Hartwell said. ”We’ll see where it goes.”
Hartwell’s time of 4 minutes, 38.002 second was almost 10 seconds faster than runner-up Michael Tillman of Santa Monica, Calif. Before Hartwell crossed the finish line, he raised a clenched fist.
”I’ve been doing this so long, it’s second nature,” Hartwell said. ”If this was the Olympics I’d probably have had a bit more nerves, but I’ll worry about that in September.”
Hartwell missed most of last season after surgery for the deteriorated meniscus cartilage in his left knee. He decided to train for the longer distance last Thanksgiving.
U.S. endurance coach Craig Griffin said Hartwell’s shift from the kilometer time trial to individual pursuit was comparable to a track and field sprinter like Michael Johnson going for the Olympics in the 1,500 meters.
”He made that transition in five months,” Griffin said. ”It’s a pretty remarkable feat. He’s got a way to go yet, but we’re looking at September for the Olympics. If he can make the same gains in the next five months, we’re looking pretty good.”
It was on the junior cycling circuit in 1991 when Hartwell last raced in individual pursuit, where two racers start from opposite sides of the track and compete for the fastest time.
”This is where I started my cycling career,” he said. ”It’s new because I haven’t done it since ’91. But I’ve done it before, so it’s not that new.”
Chris Witty of Park City, Utah, who won two speed skating medals in the 1998 Winter Olympics, raced in the women’s 200.