Otago’s gold medal drought ended


Sixteen-year-old Mark McCormack is a New Zealand inline speed skating champion and recently won Otago’s first senior speed skating gold medal in 27 years.
And to make the victory even sweeter, the previous Otago senior gold medallist was his father, Brett McCormack.
Mark won the senior/intermediate 10,000m points race at the NZ Roller Sports Speed Bank Track Championships in Timaru earlier this month.
The race involved 50 laps of a 200m track and every second lap was a sprint.
After lap 35, the first skater over the line after the sprint got two points and second place got one point.
He won the race with six points. “I was not expecting to win. It was awesome.”
It was close, between him and another competitor who were battling for the lead, he said.
“The lead was always changing between us.”
Both skaters finished the race with six points but Mark crossed the line first to take the title.
Although he has been a New Zealand champion before, this win was more meaningful because it was a senior title, he said.
Mark, a Bayfield High School pupil, has been speed skating since he was about 8 years old after he found his dad’s skates in the garage and wanted to give it a go.
Since then, his achievements include finishing sixth in a marathon race in China when he was 14 and representing New Zealand at the Oceania championships last year.
He hoped his recent performances would earn him a spot at the world championships in September.