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US Speedskating announces NRP list, coaches

Thibault, Gough get promoted for Olympic run; Athlete rosters revealed

U.S. Olympian Heather Richardson will begin her Sochi run as part of the 2013-14 NRP.
U.S. Olympian Heather Richardson will begin her Sochi run as part of the 2013-14 NRP. (Getty Images)

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By US Speedskating
(08/01/2013) - US Speedskating, the nation's most decorated Olympic winter sport with 85 medals and counting, Thursday announced the list of athletes who have been named to the 2013-14 National Racing Program (NRP), an exclusive team reserved for the sport's most elite athletes. The organization also promoted a talented coaching duo, Guy Thibault and Stephen Gough, to lead the short track national team to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games as well as oversee this year's NRP.

Guy Thibault, current short track head coach, has been promoted to the position of US Speedskating's short track program director. Stephen Gough will step up to take Thibault's place as short track national team coach. Together, Thibault and Gough will not only train short track Olympic hopefuls to contend for a spot on Team USA, but will also oversee the NRP.

Thibault and Gough both have had a successful history with US Speedskating. Thibault, a distinguished Olympic athlete himself, has participated in six Olympic Games as both staff and skater and competed in more than 150 world cups. Gough has a remarkable resume as well, having previously coached the U.S. and Canadian short track teams to success at world cups, world championships and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Now in another Olympic year, Thibault and Gough will be tasked with preparing the athletes for critical competitions, including upcoming world cups, and the much-anticipated Olympic trials that will determine Team USA for US Speedskating.

"With a record-breaking 85 Olympic medals and designation of the most successful winter sport in U.S. history, we are thrilled for the opportunity to lead the short track national team and contribute to upholding this tremendous legacy," Thibault said. "The sport of speed skating has nurtured the greatest of champions and this year will be no different: We will aggressively train and prepare our speed skaters, both mentally and physically, to take Sochi by storm."

Coaching roles for Thibault and Gough will also include instructing this year's US Speedskating short track NRP, a group consisting of the most elite short track speed skaters in the country. The top U.S. sprint, distance and all-around athletes comprise the long track NRP. As part of the program, top Olympic contenders receive automatic invites, based on an athlete's previous season performance, and athletes who have showcased promising talent and potential for future success, receive "earned" invites. The NRP is the highest honor for U.S. speed skaters, and all athletes involved are predicted to lead the sport in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

"Both coaches have remarkable track records," said Mark Greenwald, executive director of US Speedskating. "We have no doubt that they are the ideal duo to support, guide and lead our speed skaters to not only attain their own personal dreams but also to defend the sport's long-standing title as the most successful Olympic winter sport."

The 2013-14 National Racing Program athletes invited to participate include:

Long Track Sprint:
Brittany Bowe
Heather Richardson
Kelly Gunther
Clay Cholewinski
Tucker Fredricks
Sugar Todd
Jonathan Garcia
Mitch Whitmore
Lauren Cholewinski
Shani Davis*
Brian Hansen*

Long Track All-around:
Alex Hopp
Joey Mantia
Pat Meek
Petra Acker
Maria Lamb
Alex Ochowicz
Shani Davis*
Brian Hansen*
Jonathan Kuck*
Anna Ringsred*

Short Track:
Alyson Dudek
Emily Scott
Sarah Chen
Chris Creveling
J.R. Celski
Jeff Simon
Eddy Alvarez
Kimberly Derrick
Travis Jayner
Kyle Carr
Jessica Smith*
Lana Gehring*
Alison Baver
Jordan Malone
John-Henry Krueger*
Keith Carroll*
Cole Krueger*
Emery Lehman*

*Designates athletes not participating.

Both short track and long track National Racing Programs will continue to be based at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah. There, athletes are surrounded by expert support teams and can take advantage of the high altitude training environment and some of the fastest ice on earth as they prepare for the Sochi Games.

"Speed skating as a whole is experiencing a wave of positive change," said Mike Plant, president of US Speedskating. "I am certain the promotion of both Thibault and Gough will go a long way in greatly impacting the sport even further."