The Morning Blend Appearance – Winter Olympics Preview

Silvia Acevedo previews the 2018 Winter OlympicsI talked about speedskating today on The Morning Blend talk show on WTMJ-TV. Milwaukee played a big role to the skaters on their way to the 2018 Olympic because this is where the US Speedskating Olympic Trials were held. I was one of three announcers calling the play-by-play.

Here’s the segment, which is a preview ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics:

I’m wishing my speedskating friends fast ice and great results. Who are you following in the Olympics this year? What’s your favorite sport?

The Privilege of Announcing the Nation’s Best Athletes

Silvia Acevedo Play-by-play Announcing at the Pettit National Ice Center's Long Track Time Trials

Announcing Time Trials

In just a few exciting days, I, along with two others, will have the privilege of play-by-by announcing for the US Speed Skating Olympic Trials. We’ll have the honor of kicking off the event, introducing skaters, calling each race, and sharing details of the sport, its challenges, and its national representatives on their way to the world stage, the Olympics 2018.

I’ve announced at Milwaukee’s Pettit National Ice Center off and on for years, even as I compete in the very same sport. I’ve watched the athletes who’ll skate the trials grow up, I’m friends with most of them, and I wish them the very best.

Come the opening day of Trials, January 2nd, I’ll get the great privilege of watching these athletes’ hard work pay off. Achieving a place at the trials is a great accomplishment. Earning a spot on the Olympic Team is the pinnacle, of course, reserved for those at the very top of the field on that day. It’s a snapshot in time. All the skaters out there are our nation’s best, as are those who came within fractions of a second of the qualifying times or are battling injury or fatigue that prevents their attendance at these Trials. There’s always another run in four more years.

US Speedskating Announcers Silvia Acevedo and Jeff Brand

US Speedskating Announcers Silvia Acevedo and Jeff Brand

I’ll be announcing alongside my own speedskating coach and Pettit Head Announcer Jeff Brand, seen here, and Gordon Cepuran, who’s also running the music. The Trials will be live broadcasted on NBC Sports Network with their own announcers. We’re looking forward to being a part of this grand event.

The Pettit National Ice Center ahead of the US Speedskating Olympic Trials 2018

The Pettit National Ice Center ahead of the US Speedskating Olympic Trials 2018

The Pettit has brought down the hockey nets, readied the bleachers, and transformed the facility, which happens to be celebrating its 25th anniversary. The venue is ready for the occasion. We hope you’ll come down and watch as the skaters compete and US Speedskating names its Olympic team. January 2 – 7, 2018. Some days are already sold out, so buy your tickets now! Details can be found here:

Go, Team USA!

Team USA

Ten Years Blogging

Milestones trigger emotions, and this one is no exception. Today marks ten years blogging. My website and blog is mostly about the creative life (writing, publishing, media in general) and occasionally sports. I’ve experienced growth in all those areas, and I hope something I wrote added to your insight on a subject.

My very first post was about inspiration, specifically about shooing the Muse. You can read it here: I feel pretty much the same way today. If I waited until I felt inspired, who knows when I’d ever get around to it? The funny thing is, once I start, it’s the writing itself that inspires me to write more. What inspires you?  And what topics should I hit in the next ten years? 🙂

What It Feels Like to Have a Breakout Year

Start of the 3000

Start of the 3000

You hear about athletes having that one incredible year, that breakout year when they get it all right, improve by leaps and bounds, and break personal records. I think I’m experiencing that, and let me tell you, it feels awesome!

I’ve gotten personal bests in all four metric distances (500 meter, 1000 meter, 1500 meter, and 3000 meter) and am less than two-hundredths of a second away from my ultimate goal of skating the 500 in less than 50 seconds.

To give you some perspective, this season is two months old. So far I’ve skated ten races and gotten personal bests in seven of them, each time beating or hovering right around my previous best. I am in awe of what serious summer training can do for a fall sport.

So what did I do differently this year? More weight training and explosive drills than ever before. My bigger thighs do not lie. And I worked out a lot with my speedskating dynamo of a daughter and super-supportive husband and son.

I give huge props to my coaches, who work me just as hard as they do the teenagers. Strength Training Coach Olu Sijuwade is a force in the universe. PHAST Lead Coach Jeff Brand literally taught me everything I know. And PHAST Coach Tom Riley not only puts me through the paces but makes me work harder and smarter than I ever believed possible.

Thanks, coaches. Thanks to all my speedskating friends who cheer me on during my races and make the sport so much fun. And thanks to everyone everywhere who support those reaching for a goal. It feels great to hit the mark. 🙂

And Now I’m a Sports Announcer!

Sports Announcing

     If you spend enough years in front of a microphone and get plugged in to your community, eventually you’ll have interesting opportunities come your way. And me not being one to turn down opportunities (or people depending on me), I say yes.

     So I’ve had the very good fortune to get pulled into live sports announcing. For the past few years, I’ve occasionally announced speedskating events in Milwaukee for meets ranging from Olympic Qualifying, World Cup Qualifying, and even small regional meets.

     Now I’m adding high school swimming to my sports announcing! My daughter’s team needed an announcer for a large conference meet, and I was volunteered. I’m not hugely plugged into that sport, but I always want to stretch my abilities and try new things. I was asked back, so that’s a good endorsement.

     I’m grateful to have the chance to try new things. Many thanks to all who provide the opportunities!

Making Everything Better

One of the things I love about guest hosting The Morning Blend talk show is the chance to discuss with people from all walks of life how they handle their personal trials and make things better for others. Below are a couple of recent segments that do just that.

The first features Speedskating Olympian Brian Hansen just before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He talks about training, nutrition, and his other contribution to sport, the muscle-rolling, athlete-hydrating invention, Bottle Bark.

The second segment features Milwaukee-area moms who discuss the importance of finding time for themselves — and the wonderful people who help them do it. It’s a tribute to the parenting support system.


A Successful Weekend on the Ice

Silvia Acevedo _Small I started my season later than normal, but I’m really happy to say that it really doesn’t show too much. I skated five races in this weekend’s “Masters International Single Distance Championships” at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. It was my first competition this season and my first Masters meet ever.

Silvia Acevedo at the Pettit_Small

This meet crowns champs in the 500, 1000, 1500, 3000, and 5000 meter distances. I was nervous about a few distances that I hadn’t skated yet this year, but, with my training and great help from my cheering family, I skated times that were right in line with my personal bests. I got the titles in my age division and left feeling great for the rest of the year.

Huy and Silvia_Small

My student skater did really well, too! Here’s a picture of Huy with me. He’s new at this but will soon be one of the fastest out there, I’m absolutely sure. I’m proud of him. It’s great coaching Masters — and skating with them, too!



Hittin’ the World Rankings

Silvia ranked 14th in the 1000 meter distance.     It’s not often a person can say they’re ranked world class, so I just have to sing about it a bit. Anyone who visits this blog regularly knows I speedskate. Love the sport and the camaraderie with adult skaters. Turns out I can be pretty proud of my actual performance, too. Just found out that I’m ranked in the top 20 worldwide in my age division. And get this — you see only one American flag there. For the first time in my skating career, I alone represent the women of the U.S. in all four distances (500, 1k, 1500, and 3k) in my age division. And speedskating’s given me four national championships, too, against some tough competition. I never imagined any of this when I set out to simply find a workout that I could do with my kids.

     I hope this encourages other moms out there to strap on some skates! Olympic fever, courtesy this go around of Sochi, Russia, is just 390 days away!

Sweeping Changes On the Way for US Speedskaters

US Speedskating's Logo     This weekend I had the privilege of attending US Speedskating’s Board of Directors meeting, which is where big (and small) changes are made in U.S. speedskating regulations. The spring meeting is held in a different city and area of the country each year, and Milwaukee was the place this go-around. I sat through every minute of it and posted a link at the end of this post to the board actions that I think will most interest skaters.

     First, let me briefly tell you how the event was laid out. It began Thursday night with a roundtable discussion in which 24 board members and USS staff were onhand to answer questions from the general membership. Friday was devoted to committee meetings, where proposals were debated and eventually voted on to either die in committee or advance to the board. Saturday was when the board made the final votes on each proposal, either denying them or turning them into law. How’s that for PoliSci 101? I think Marquette U. should give me an honorary degree. 🙂

     So what are the changes? There were 25 that I thought would most interest my readers. You can find them HERE.

Now I’m Officially Official

     Okay, I’ve been a part of the speedskating scene for a long time, but today I actually got a little bit of authority at a meet. I was one of the officials at the 2011 Masters International Long Track Speedskating Championships held at the Pettit. Tempting as it was to flaunt my new powers and disqualify anyone who looked at me funny, I instead behaved and did my best to keep the racing fair and moving along.

     Here you see me setting up with a bucketful of blocks. These blocks are rubber lane markers laid out along the turns and sometimes the straightaways to clearly mark lanes. I also acted as a corner judge (watching that skaters not cross too far to the inside), finishing line judge (watching that skaters not kick out their skates and are ranked according to their finishing place), and heat box caller (getting the right skaters checked in and onto the ice). The latter was very easy, as adult skaters know where they are to be and when.

     I had two fabulous assistants in my youngest children, whom you see here. They are preparing to put red and white armbands on the skaters. The armbands indicate in which lanes the skaters start. The kids also checked racing numbers and order at the starting line.

     I learned a lot from officiating. Some rules that were fuzzy in my mind are now crystal clear, which should assist my own skating, and we all had a great time.