Eric Flaim

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Eric Flaim
Eric Flaim.JPG
Medal record
Competitor for the  United States
Men’s short track speed skating
Olympic Games
Silver Lillehammer 5000 m relay
Men’s speed skating
Olympic Games
Silver 1988 Calgary 1500 m

Eric Joseph Flaim (born 9 March 1967 in Pembroke, Massachusetts, United States) is a former US speed skater.

Biography[edit]

Eric Flaim began skating at the age of 5 on the tiny pond next to his home on Fairwood Drive, Pembroke. He soon starting playing youth hockey in his hometown at the Hobomock Arena, later joining travel teams always with the encouragement and support of his father Enrico. His first introduction to the sport started in short track speed skating with the Baystate speed skating club, at 11 years of age in 1979, he pursued both hockey and speed skating for two seasons. Watching the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and Eric Heiden's astonishing 5 gold medal achievement fueled Flaim's own dream of competing for the U.S. in the Winter Olympics and he focused on speed skating. After the 1983 season and winning both North American Titles for Junior in short track and long track speed skating he decided to fully pursue long track as short track was not yet an official Olympic sport. In his first major International competition, the Junior World Allround Championships, he placed in the top 30, he competed in two. As a senior, he participated in his first World Allround Championships in 1987 in Heerenveen. He finished 17th, meaning he did not to qualify for the final distance (the 10,000 m) by just one position.

The next year (1988), Flaim had his best season. Before the Milwaukee WI crowd, he won a 1000m gold medal and bronze overall at the World Sprint Championships. Two weeks later, at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Flaim missed medals placing fourth 3 times. In his favorite distance he had the disadvantage of starting in the first pair on the 1,500 m and immediately broke Igor Zhelezovski's world record. Establishing this mark was an amazing accomplishment for the 20 year old who was not regarded as a leading contender. This would not be the new world record, though, because two pairs later, East German skater André Hoffmann set an even faster time, by just .06 of a second. Flaim's time, however, would remain the second fastest 1,500 m time and so he earned Olympic silver. A highlight for Flaim's career came two weeks later, in Medeo, part of the former Soviet Union, he became World Allround Champion. Despite outdoor conditions that were a detriment to Flaim, he battled and skated the finest 10,000m of his career to solidify his championship.

In 1989, Flaim won the 1,000 m World Cup, a first place overall finish shared with Austrian skater Michael Hadschieff. After that season he underwent knee surgery in early 1990 and began extensive therapy to get back to elite condition. In 1992, he seemed to be on his way to a comeback when he finished first in Davos Switzerland, one of the eight 1,000 m races to determine the 1,000 m World Cup, two weeks prior to the start of the Olympics. During the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, after a 6th place in the 5,000 m, a case of food-poisoning the evening before his 1,500 m race ruined his chances for the rest of the Olympics.

At the 1994 Winter Olympics, he won his second Olympic silver medal – this time in short track skating – as part of the United States team in the 5,000 m relay. This made him the first skater to win Olympic medals in two different winter disciplines (though not the first skater to win Olympic medals in two different disciplines – that honour goes to Christa Rothenburger). Flaim participated in his fourth and last Olympics during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, elected by his Olympic peers to carry the flag into the opening ceremonies.

Career[edit]

Eric Flaim currently has a Financial Planning practice with Ameriprise financial in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He lives with his wife Marci Francis and their son Colby in Stratham, New Hampshire.

Personal records[edit]

Distance Time Date Location
500 m 36.98 23 January 1988 Calgary
1,000 m 1:13.53 18 February 1988 Calgary
1,500 m 1:52.12 20 February 1988 Calgary
3,000 m 4:02.64 11 December 1988 Calgary
5,000 m 6:47.09 17 February 1988 Calgary
10,000 m 14:05.57 21 February 1988 Calgary
Big combination 160.219 22 March 1992 Calgary

Flaim was number one on the Adelskalender, the all-time allround speed skating ranking, from 17 February 1988 to 21 March 1992 – a total of 1494 days, which is almost exactly equal to Eric Heiden's reign length of 1495 days. Flaim's Adelskalender score is 157.340 points.

References[edit]

  • Eng, Trond. All Time International Championships, Complete Results: 1889 - 2002. Askim, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 2002.
  • Teigen, Magne. Komplette Resultater Internasjonale Mesterskap 1889 - 1989: Menn/Kvinner, Senior/Junior, allround/sprint. Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 1989.

External links[edit]