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Olympic Speed Skating Trials : Bonnie Blair Continues Winning Ways

December 20, 1987|Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Bonnie Blair continued her domination of the U.S. women's speed skating trials Saturday night, while Erik Henriksen clinched a spot on his third straight Olympic team by winning the men's final 500-meter trial.

Blair of Champaign, Ill., won the women's 500 meters in 42.30 seconds and now has won all four 500-meter trials, both 1,500-meter trials and one 1,000-meter trial. She will skate one more race, the third and final 1,000 meters, today during the final day of competition.

Blair will skate three events at the Olympics in February--the 500, 1,000 and 1,500.

"In the last trials I was working on making the team. This time I basically knew I could be on the team," said Blair, who competed in the 1984 Olympics when the U.S. skaters failed to win any medals.

"My thoughts and efforts are going toward February and not worrying so much about this time."

Henriksen won the men's 500 meters in 38.53.

He is scheduled to appear today before a United States International Speedskating Assn. hearing that will determine if he should be suspended for allegedly violating a code of conduct in November.

The 29-year-old Henriksen, also from Champaign, skated a victory lap with his fist raised triumphantly in the air.

"I'm only one of five to do it and I'm really proud," Heniksen said of making the team a third straight time.

"It couldn't have happened any sweeter. It was perfect."

Also qualifying to make the women's 500-meter team were Kristen Talbot of Schuylerville, N.Y., Peggy Clasen of Roseville, Minn., and Leslie Bader of Bridgeport, Conn., who has the fifth spot as an alternate. Blair and Katie Class, who finished second in the 500-meter point standings, already had exemptions to make the team.

In addition to Henriksen, those qualifying to make the men's team were Tom Cushman of Roseville, Minn., and Marty Pierce of Milwaukee.

Dan Jansen, who finished first in the point standings and second in Saturday night's race, and world record holder Nick Thometz, who skipped the event but had an illness exemption, already qualified in the men's 500 meters.

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