The Road to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is paved with Sacrifice, Dedication and Perseverance. There’s one athlete that embodies all of these qualities and that is Kimberly Derrick! Athletego caught up with the 2X Olympic Short Track Speed Skater & 2010 Bronze Medalist in the 3,000 meter relay.
AG: You’ve had a long and successful career in Speedskating for some time now. Talk a little bit about the sacrifices you’ve had to make to pursue your dreams and what makes it all worth it in the end?
KD: I wouldn’t really call what I have given up to pursue this career in sport as a sacrifice. I know others would think differently, but this was a decision I made when I was really young. I knew from a young age I loved to skate and that I wanted to be an Olympian and would do whatever needed to be done to achieve those dreams. Yes, I did miss out on school dances, school sporting events, being able to hang out with friends at any time and things like that. I actually homeschooled through high school to be able to travel for Inline Speed Skating. I would say that being able to be a top athlete in skating and because of that being able to travel the world, see different cultures and how they live compared to in the United States makes it worth it.
AG: Sochi is right around the corner! Tell us about how training is going both on the ice and any specific training you do on dry land.
KD: This summers training has been going really well. We have had a lot of changes with our staff and it is a little different style of training, but it has been/is a great program and I can tell I am gaining strengths in all areas of training. We are already on the ice 6 days a week working on technique, endurance, acceleration and foot speed. As for off ice we do a mixture of workouts; running, biking, weight lifting, jump circuits, and a lot of sport specific exercises. All training has been going great. The atmosphere of the team is great and I am looking forward to what this season has in store.
AG: What are your best memories from the Winter Olympics in 2006 and 2010 respectively?
KD: For 2006 I would say it would be opening ceremonies because that was when my dream of becoming an Olympian became real. For 2010 I would say it was the night of the awards ceremony for our 3000m relay Bronze medal. It was another dream come true with becoming an Olympic medalist. It was great to be able to celebrate that with my teammates and our families.
AG: OK, so this will definitely give you a sense of how OLD I am, but I grew up loving to watch Olympic Speedskating on TV and distinctly remember Eric Heiden growing up ☺ First, do you know who he is? Second, what Athletes, Olympic or otherwise did you admire growing up?
KD: I do know Eric Heiden. He has been a doctor for our team and he is one I have gone to for small injuries I have had throughout my years of training.
As for athletes I admired growing up I would say it was always inline skaters. I started skating inlines competitively at the age of 6 and always looked up to the older skaters. Skaters such as, Julie Brandt-Glass and Theresa Cliff. It is crazy that I looked up to them when I was young because I grew up and ended up racing with and against these girls.
AG: What do you love most about Speedskating?
KD: The speed. The speeds we reach with the angle we skate at is kinda crazy. Also, gotta love the racing; the strategies and strengths you use and see during racing.
AG: What is your least favorite thing about Speedskating?
KD: Falls! Although, I have been lucky enough to not have had any bad falls that ended with an injury (knock on wood) I have seen many bad falls. Those in which ended with injury or someone being cut.
AG: What sport aside from your own would you most like to have gone into and why?
KD: If I didn’t get into skating and love it as much as I do I probably would have played softball. I started playing t-ball at age 5 and played softball after that. I quit softball because I started traveling more for skating and becoming more involved with training for that.
AG: Do you follow a rigid nutritional program or can you basically eat whatever you want because you’re young and train like a superhuman?
KD: I wouldn’t say I follow a rigid nutritional program, but I also don’t eat whatever I want. I do tend to eat healthy to make sure my body is getting the correct nutrition it needs to be recovered and ready for training.
AG: How, after all these years, of training and competing at such a high level do you stay motivated?
KD: I love skating. That is really all there is to it. I want to strive to be the best I can be in the sport I love. I always set goals for myself in whatever I am doing in life. For skating, there are goals I want to reach during training and goals I want to reach during racing. Those goals help me stay motivated because I want to do my best to try to accomplish them.
AG: Any pre-race rituals, routines or superstitions?
KD: I don’t have a pre-race ritual I really follow. I mean I usually do the same warmup/in-between race routine for warming up. I always have my Ipod in. And I always put my right skate on first when getting ready for practice or a race.
Just for fun…
AG: What’s your favorite TV show?
KD: House is my favorite, but it has ended. My second favorite is Grey’s Anatomy.
AG: Who is your celebrity crush?
KD: Jake Gyllenhaal
AG: What’s your favorite saying?
KD: Everything happens for a reason.
AG: Do you take fan challenges? With a 10 second lead, I think I can take you!
KD: hahahah… I can’t say I have ever taken a fan challenge. But haven’t really had many fans give me a challenge like this either.
AG: Any shout outs to friends, family or sponsors?
KD: I will always give a shout out to my family. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today. They have always been there for me through all the ups and downs in skating and life. A shout out is needed for my coaches, because they push the team during training and believe in us. Also, a shout out to all my teammates. We push each other every day during training so we can all reach our highest potential. A lot of us have been together for many years and in a way it is as though we are family.
Thanks KD! See YOU in SOCHI 2014!!!