From Texas to the top of the world. . .
From the beginning, it seemed like Chad Hedrick was born to skate. He was born in 1977, to parents Paul & Wanda who owned a roller skating rink in Spring, Texas just outside of Houston. He was first put on skates when he was 17 months old, and by age 2 he was skating circles around kids 3 times his age.
At a very young age he had found what he loved to do, and was born to excel in. Chad’s father coached the local roller skate racing team, and immediately Chad started winning. He won his first national Championship when he was 8 years old. Back then all of this skating was done on conventional 4 wheel roller skates, but then something interesting happened in the late 80’s with the introduction of inline skates.
Chad quickly mastered the new equipment, and new techniques required to go fast onit. In 1993 he made the US junior national team. In 1994, at 16, he became the youngest skater in history to qualify for the Senior National team, and he won his first world championship shortly thereafter.
One of the remarkable things about his early success in inline racing was that he used a fundamentally different style of skating from everybody else. At first it was called “the double-push” or “the Chad”. People did not understand what they were seeing him do, as it looked dramatically different than classic ice speed skating technique.
Chad began to dominate inline speedskating, winning everything that there was to win. Racing for the top trade teams of Rollerblade and Hyper, Chad won world championships after world championship. In 2000, he won his 50th in Oostende, Belgium. Afterwards, he needed a new challenge, and when he saw his close friend Derek Parra win the 1500m gold medal in the 2002 Olympic games, he knew he'd found it.
In 2004, just a year and a half into his journey, he won the all-around World Championships in Norway, becoming only the 3rd American to accomplish this feat in 100 years. Chad’s accomplishments in the years leading up to the 2006 Olympics put him in the ranks of the greatest American speed skaters of all time. In 2004 he was awarded the prestigious Oscar Mathisen Memorial Trophy. The only other American winners of this “best skater of the season” award have been Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden.
The 2006 Torino Winter Olympic games were fast approaching, and Chad started to find the best form of his life. In Torino his first race was the 5000m, and he skated the best race of his life. In 6:14.38, he had skated a time that would make him an Olympic Gold Medalist. His journey was successful, but not yet complete.
The rest of the Olympic games were a whirlwind of media attention. Chad forged onward through exhausting pressure to win a bronze medal in the 1500m and a silver medal in the 10,000m With this “complete set” of medals from Torino, Chad becomes only the third U.S. Winter Olympian to win three medals in a single games, following in the steps of other speedskaters Eric Heiden and Sheila Young.
After the 2006 Winter Olympics Chad has set his sights on new goals. In 2008 he married Lynsey Adams and in March of 2009 they welcomed a new baby girl Hadley Angel to their world. The man who was once labeled 'The Exception' has transformed into something completely new and exciting - a family man committed to his future with his wife and daughter. With the Torino Olympic success in the rear view mirror, Chad has rediscovered his passion for skating, and is ready to make new memories and once again go for the gold in Vancouver at the 2010 Winter Olypmic Games.