Hi and welcome back to my blog. For anyone who is seeing my blog for the first time, I’m Chris Creveling. Recently I competed in the Short Track World Championships in Drebecen, Hungary. Team USA was represented by two men and two women in the individual events. We also qualified for the mens relay event. Being my first world championships, I didn’t know what to expect. But the competition exceeded all of my expectations with the drama of having a world title at stake.
Our week and a half stay in Drebecen was excellent. We had everything we could have needed and there were no problems. First I would like to thank the coaches and training staff of team USA for a great season and for all their hard work. I had the opportunity to meet medical staff who travel with the team to these events. They have so much to offer for the team and we appreciate everything.
Our team stayed in The Hotel Aquaticum near Drebecen University. Our hotel had all the amenities of a resort. The best thing about it was the thermal baths and steam/sauna rooms. We had access to the wellness spa of Aquaticum medical and bathing centre. The medical treatments they have to offer are hydrotherapy, group therapeutic exercise, electro therapy, massage, mud pack, dentistry, just about everything you can think of. The baths are under a dome with four thermal pools and two changing pools. This is in use daily by Drebecen citizens and hotel guests. Of course the skaters were welcome to use the pools everyday.
As soon as we arrived it was obvious that we would be part of a health and wellness community. It’s very different from how people view healing in the United States. People seek health benefits of medicinal waters and more simple means of healing. You won’t find places like it anywhere in the US.
The Fonix arena was within walking distance of our hotel. This was convenient for anyone who wanted to jog/walk to the arena rather than waiting for the shuttle to arrive. Our first trip to the rink was pretty eventful. On the walk over we encountered the petting zoo that was along the way. There was a giraffe, which we didn’t expect to see wandering through the park. Then, walking straight towards us was a mini horse! We had to move off the sidewalk to let it walk by and everyone stopped and starred. Then we joked about riding a mini horse to the rink everyday. After we walked to the wrong building and were directed to the arena, we found out it was closed. The pad system was not installed completely and we were forced to wait another day to get on the ice.
Once we arrived the next day we had a great ice session. My skates were dialed in and I felt comfortable on the ice. The entire team felt pretty fast that day. It is an amazing feeling when everything falls together; ice conditions, feeling strong, having tons of energy. But it can be short lived.
The next practice day was the complete opposite. The ice had changed overnight and many teams had practices after us. Also the temperature changed in the arena which made the ice conditions change. This just goes to show that short track is a very unpredictable sport. Things can change drastically, and in the blink of an eye. One day you can feel like you’re in top of the world, the next could be the complete opposite.
We had four races in the world championships. How the system works is each A final placement earns points. The points add up from each distance to determine the world champion. So for instance, if I made it to the semi finals but didn’t qualify for the A final, I was done racing that distance. I’m glad we used this system because it meant less races and more recovery time. Each night after races I would go back to the hotel for cold bathing and massage treatment. That was crucial for recovering and skating well the following day.
In each of my races I tried to stay towards the front of the pack. The longer races tended to be slower in the beginning, so I could wait a few laps to start moving up. I could move up through the pack with ease to place myself in the top two. However, there was a lot more riding on these races which made it harder to stay in second or third place. This worlds allowed me to see how I fared among the best skaters in the world. I ended up placing 16th overall in the world. Meng Wang won the world title for the ladies, and Sin Da Woon was ecstatic to win for the men. I’m excited to have good results going into the Olympic year. Hopefully next year I will be among the top 8, or even higher!
After the races we had some time to check out downtown. Luckily my dad was there to watch me skate, so we had some time to catch up. We enjoyed authentic Hungarian food and taking in the sights. You would be surprised with what they served and how much of it was fried. For me the best food was the goulash and fish with rice. Enjoy the pictures of the interesting food and culture of Hungary.
The arena went ballistic when the Hungarian team took the ice
I did take part in the relaxing oxygen therapy.
we were in the airport by 4:30am. needless to say we didn’t get any sleep
we were the first ones in the arena that day. half way through the warmup the lights came on