From Sochi to Detroit: Coach reports on US speed skating athletes

Metro Detroit inline speed skating coach at Olympics to watch former players, Jessica Smith, Kelly Gunther, compete on ice

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Robb Dunn is an inline speed skating coach who is in Sochi, Russia to see two of his former players compete in speed skating.

Kelly Gunther and Jessica Smith are both competing in speed skating, but started their careers in inline skating with Dunn in metro Detroit before transitioning to the ice.

Dunn is blogging for Local 4 about his Olympic experience and what's happening in the sport at the Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi.

Dunn was there for the 1000 meter race in which Shani Davis was attempting to win a third gold medal in a third Olympic games.  Davis fell short and came in 8th.

"Surprisingly tough day for men's long track 1000 meter today.   Finished eighth, ninth, fifteenth, and 28th. Hope the ladies can get things going tomorrow," said Dunn.

Kelly Gunther of Clinton Township competes in women's 1000 meter event on Thursday.

"Kelly seems focused and good to go," Dunn.

Dunn has noticed all the other obligations the athletes have in addition to practicing and competing.

"Just finding out how much of the athletes time is spent on interviews and other things.   Lots more going on for them then just coming here race prepping and competing.  Some even have to attend sponsor and donor dinners and other events.  Pretty amazing!" said Dunn.

It has been a tough go for some US speed skaters.  In the women's 500 meter in short track, only one American, Emily Scott, made it to the quarterfinals.  Jessica Smith of Melvindale wiped out in her race and failed to qualify.  Alyson Dudek drew a penalty in her heat.

Smith, a short track speed skater, has two more races, the 1000 meter and the 1500 meter.

"Slow start for Americans in 500 meter ... no medals. Should do better in middle distance as that is where teams strength appears to be," said Dunn.  "Somebody needs to get the team a jump start soon though.   As is the norm, home team is good on their own ice.  The Dutch men dominating thus far."

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