+William Joseph Cheek
(born June 22, 1979, in Greensboro
, North Carolina
) is an American speed skater
and former inline speed skater
. He specializes in the short and middle distances.
Cheek's breakthrough was in the 2002 Winter Olympics
in Salt Lake City
, where he won the bronze medal in the 1,000 meters and just missed the podium in the 1,500 meters by 0.08 seconds.
In 2003 he won a bronze medal at the World Single Distance Championships
in the 1,000- and 1,500-meter events. Both distances at that tournament were won by Dutch
speed skater Erben Wennemars
. In 2005, Cheek made the podium for the first time in the World Sprint Championships
, again behind Wennemars.
On January 22, 2006, in Heerenveen
, Cheek became world sprint champion. On aggregate
he beat Dmitry Dorofeyev
and Jan Bos
of the Netherlands
At the 2006 Winter Olympics
in Turin, Italy
, Cheek won the men's 500-meter event in dominating style, recording a two-run total time of 1:09.76. That time was 0.65 seconds faster than runner-up Dorofeyev, and Cheek was the only competitor to break the 35-second mark in the competition, doing so in both of his runs (34.82 and 34.94). Cheek's time in the first 500-meter race is an unofficial world record for the fastest 500 meters ever at an ice rink at sea level. He went on to win silver in the 1,000-meter race, finishing just behind teammate Shani Davis
He was elected by his teammates to carry the US flag into the closing ceremonies. Near... Read More