Inline skates were originally an invention of ice skaters who wanted to be able to train in the summer when there was no ice, in the days before artificially-frozen rinks. In the early 90s competitive roller skaters realised that the inline configuration of wheels allowed for faster speeds. During the early initial stages of conversion from (side by side wheeled) quad roller skates to inline roller skates many skaters took technical cues from the ice skating world. Eventually inline speed skating evolved into its own sport with a technique similar to ice speed skating, but different in many subtle ways. Try as we might (and we did try), we could never get inline speed skating into the summer olympics (efforts are still ongoing), so naturally inline skaters began to think about switching over to ice for a shot at the dream of olympic gold. KC was the first. He paved the way for all who came after him, in what is now accepted as a fairly normal transition, with the organisation of coaching, and facilities being the main obstacles. When he made the switch, very few believed it could be done. Having tasted a great deal of success in the world of ice skating, he unfortunately never quite achieved an olympic medal, but will forever be remembered as “that guy” who made us dare to believe that it was possible.
I have made the audio file of the full interview available here for you to have a listen. Please share the link around if you like it and be sure to listen to my other interviews and live audio commentary for the speed skating events during these games.