|ESPN.com: Winter 2002||[Print without images]|
Hometown: Sunset Beach, Calif.
Sport: Short track speed skating
Accomplishments: In the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, he was 13th in the 1,000 and a member of the sixth-place relay team. At the 2000 Worlds, he placed fourth in the 1,000 meters, seventh in the 500 meters and eighth overall.
Rusty's guide to his sport: "We're an all-around sport. We don't specify individual differences. We skate around a 111-meter track inside of a hockey rink. We skate with four to six people at a time, and the first one to cross the line wins. Individual distances: 500 meters is the sprint distance with 4½ laps; 1,000 meters, which is nine laps; 1,500 meters is 13½ laps; 3,000 meters is 27 laps. (The top eight scorers skate the 3,000, so you have to be a finalist in one of the other races.) In our sport, you are an individual except on the four-person relay team where you skate 5,000 meters, which is 45 laps. "The reason our sport is interesting to me is that is a sport where you race. You have heats, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals
-- so you have to actually race against people instead of a clock. Unlike long-track speed-skating where it's a 400-meter oval, they are skating against a clock rather than other people. The top two advance out of each race. There are a lot of falls involved and little bit of bumping, shoving and pushing. "We get up to speeds of 35 mph, and we pull almost 6 G-forces going around the corner. For comparison, race cars pull just over 1 G and bobsleds pull around 2 or 3 G's. You're only doing it for a split second right at the apex of the corner. "There is a lot of contact and a lot of bumping that doesn't get called. In a lot of ways it is like auto racing: we bump, we push. To a point it's legal, but if you make someone fall, you're disqualified. A passing skater has to make a clean pass on the person in front of you and the other skater can get disqualified if they impede you by cutting you off."