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Kansas City teens train with hopes of making it to the Olympics in Speed Skating

Posted at 1:28 PM, Feb 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 18:46:10-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Whisking around the ice rink at speeds faster than what some people drive.

The Speed Skating events during the 2018 Winter Olympics have been fascinating to watch as athletes power through the rink lap after lap. 

Those watching the action includes several Kansas City teens who hope to accomplish the same thing. Teens are hitting the streets, roller rinks, and skating rinks to build the power and skills needed to one day become an Olympic Speed Skater.

We caught up with some of the teens at the Line Creek Community Center as they worked with their coach Brian Simpson, who is part of the nonprofit Infinity Racing KC Speed Skating Club. Simpson showed 41 Action News the skills and training needed to one day be an Olympic hopeful.

"As a skater, you can push yourself to the limits, test your body, have a lot of fun out here just skating and going fast," said Simpson.

Speed skaters reach speeds up to 50 kilometers an hour on the ice. That's the same as someone driving 31 mph in your neighborhood. They make sharp turns that require a lot of concentration and skill.

"You're going around the corner so fast, and I'm leaning, touching the ice, feeling the wind. It's a cool feeling," said Branden Simpson, who one day hopes to make his Olympic dream a reality.

These hopefuls know making it to the Olympics will take a lot of time, dedication and maybe some blood, sweat, and tears.

"It is a full-time job," said Branden. "Speed skating's just this sport where you are in such an unnatural position, and it's such a technical-based sport, that you have to be constantly training."

Many of these teens started their training early, and believe it or not, the majority of training takes place on dry land vs an ice rink.

These skaters are hitting the gym and the track, and mastering inline skating before putting on the ice skating blades. More than 90 percent of speed skaters started with inline skating first, winning those competitions before moving onto the ice.

"I started in inlines," said Gabriela Cardona, who hopes to one day be an Olympic speed skater. "It helps me push past my limits, and that's something that I really love about this sport."

But the constant push to achieve something many people will never know has these teens pushing past their boundaries, knowing that Olympic Gold Medal could one day be theirs.

"I definitely want to make it into the Olympics," said Cardona. "That's going to be, like, my biggest, like accomplishment and I'm going to be super proud of myself."

If you want to start training for speed skating you can contact Line Creek Community Center at 1-816-513-7500.