HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Opening ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympics are just around the corner, and as the world's best athletes compete in South Korea, the Triad will be well represented.
Two local speed skaters, Heather Richardson (now, Heather Bergsma) and Kimani Griffin, will compete for Team USA this year.
Bergsma, a High Point native, will be competing in her third Olympic games in the women's 1000m, mass start, 500m, and 1500m events.
She's trying to win her first Olympic medal this year.
"I really am hopeful to be on the podium," she said. "But, this time around, I don't want to put any expectations. I just want to focus on race-by-race and what I have to on that day, what I'm doing right now."
Bergsma honed her speed skating skills at the Rol-A-Rink in High Point. It's where her parents met.
"I loved to go to the Rol-A-Rink and skate," Bergsma said. "And, even when I was sick, I just wanted to go skate with my friends and hang out."
Her former inline skating coach, Shannon Shuskey, says there was always something special about Bergsma.
"At 211 degrees, water is just hot, at 212 degrees, it boils," he said. "Boiling water creates steam, and steam can power a locomotive. And, if you look at it, it's that extra degree of effort that can take you to that next level. And, that's where Heather is."
Bergsma's gold medal run will begin Feb. 12 in the women's 1500m event. You can learn more about the Triad Olympian here.
Kimani Griffin, a Winston-Salem native, also trained under Shuskey in High Point; he and Bergsma were teammates.
Griffin will compete in his first Olympic games in the 500m men's speed skating event. And, Shuskey says he knew 2018 would be a special year for Griffin.
"I saw how focused he was, and I was thinking, 'OK, wow, this is going to be his year to be able to make the Olympic team,'" he said. "I had it in the back of my mind, you know, 'he's there; he's going to be the one that's going to sneak in, that's going to surprise people,' and he did, and he ended up making the team."
Griffin will begin his journey to a gold medal on Feb. 19. You can read his full bio here.
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