If there was a medal given out for best team player, I would vote for Justin Man to receive it this year. In two of our medaled races Justin played a key role. He skated with Drew Valinsky on the Points Elimination on the track and with Mario Valencia on the Elimination Race on the road. If you remember, both Drew and Mario received Bronze medals in those races. In both races, Justin repeatedly sought out and protected his teammates in the midst of some brutal racing. He did his best to clear the way for them so that they could conserve energy for the end of the race.
BL: Talk us through your thinking in these races.
J: It's really a rush to the skate the World Championships. There is a lot of scuffling out there, especially in the elimination races. They keep grabbing at your legs trying to pull you back so they can make it to the line. Sometimes you get hit in the face and pushed too. It's very physical. My first year at worlds I got put into the wall in the 1000m race; now I just give it back to them. Each year I try to skate a little smarter.
This year I knew I probably wasn't strong enough to medal on my own, so I set a goal to help my teammates. With the track race, I tried to stay by Drew. When he got tired in the middle of the race I led out and tried to slow the pace. My goal was to help him not get eliminated because he had so many points. At one point it looked like he was going to be eliminated so I got behind him and got eliminated instead. It was worth it because he fought his way back and placed. In the race on the road with Mario, my goal was to stay in the top 5 positions and protect my teammate. It worked. For a while I thought that maybe we might both medal, but my legs finally gave out from all the scuffling and I ended up 7th or 8th.
BL: What word of advice would you offer other skating hopefuls?
J: Stick to who you are. Don't listen to just one person. Learn from many coaches, not just one because each has their own ideas about what you should do.
BL: What is your philosophy of training?
J: Be consistent. Set out a plan/program for each week. Figure out what you need and work on it.
BL: What are your future skating plans?
J: Well, I have the New York Marathon (26k) coming up at the end of September. I have found that I have gotten a lot stronger while here at worlds. I am hoping that this will mean good results for the marathon.