Speed Skating: Bonnie Blair's Entirely Predictable Farewell Tour

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, May 1995

Speed Skating: Bonnie Blair's Entirely Predictable Farewell Tour
By Todd Balf

Rarely does an athlete bid farewell to a sport while at the top of his or her game. But at 31, Bonnie Blair has just wrapped up one of the most satisfying years of her career, winning 12 World Cup races in the 500 and 1,000-meter sprint distances. She also shattered her own 500-meter world record at the Calgary World Cup event last February (38.69 seconds) and, a week later, set two track records as she captured the World Sprint Championships in her adopted hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Even Blair seemed startled by her performance in what she 's promised will be her final year of competitive skating. "When the season started, I was just hoping to be competitive," she says. Was she rethinking her retirement plans? "No," says Blair, who' ll instead return to college for a business degree. "It's time to move on to other things." Meanwhile, talk is turning to the question of whether anyone on the U.S. Speed Skating Team can fill the boots on Blair' s swift skates. The early money is on 19-year-old Christine Witty. Free-spirited and very strong, she was runner-up to Blair at the World Championships in Milwaukee.

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