Ryan Bedford, the reigning U.S. champion in the 10,000m, is making his Olympic debut in Vancouver, skating in that event. Also a short track skater, Bedford won two world championship medals in two different sports in a one-week span last spring. On March 8, 2009, in Vienna, Austria, he was a member of the world champion U.S. short track relay team. One week later, on March 15, Bedford earned a world bronze medal as part of the long track speed skating pursuit team at the 2009 Single Distance Worlds in Vancouver.
Short track start
Bedford joined the U.S. short track team in 2006 and had several promising results, including a third-place finish in a short track 1500m World Cup race at Heerenveen, Netherlands, during the 2006-07 season. During the 2007-08 season, he decided he wanted to give long track a try and switched over from short track training to long track for the 2008-09 season.
Bedford started skating at age five at the Midland Speed Skating Club in Midland, Mich., doing lessons once a week. Bedford's parents, Phil and Beth, moved to Midland from Yuma, Ariz., after Bedford was born and stayed there through his sophomore year at Midland High School. At that point, Bedford moved to Marquette, Mich., before his junior year to pursue training in the sport. He told the Saginaw News, "I've always been competitive, either in basketball, track and field, cross-country," Bedford said. "Ask my gym teacher. I was always nuts in gym class. My parents never had to push me. I wanted to compete. At games or in school, that's what I did. I just kept my nose to the grindstone. I didn't think I could be that good, it just happened," he said of his rise through the sport.
As the pilot for the USA-1 bobsled, I broke a 62-year gold medal drought when my sled, the 'Night Train" won the Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. A degenerative eye condition nearly caused me to quit my sport in 2008, but corrective surgery restored my vision to 20-20.