Kelly Gunther is an Elite Speed Skater who represented Team USA at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
Kelly is truly an inspirational athlete, having suffered a career-ending ankle break, was told she would never be able to skate again. She defied the doctor’s predictions and through 4 years of perseverance managed to successfully rehabilitate to compete at the elite level again – I encourage you to take 5 mins of your time to watch her inspiring video here. Kelly is aiming to compete in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018.
I use Beet It Sport because I can tell it has helped me breath better when I am on the ice, and pushing myself to the limits! I can definitely tell it has helped me with my legs when I am out there on the ice, I can feel myself pushing myself more because of all of the science it has behind it!
– Kelly Gunther
How did you get involved in Speed Skating?
I got involved in speed skating when I was about 9. I first started off as a roller figure skater when I was 6. I went to a local roller rink, and since that day, I have never looked back! I fell in love with it. I loved the jump, spins, and all of the pretty makeup and costumes! I was then introduced to inline speed skating. I never ever thought I would love liked wearing a helmet and one uniform after wearing all of the pretty dresses and makeup as a little girl, but was I ever so wrong! I loved it! I absolutely loved going fast and turning left, and 20 some years later, here we are and I wouldn’t change it for anything! I have travelled the world for inline speed skating, I did that for about 10 years before switching over to long track speed skating, and that was because as that 6-year-old little girl, my dream was to always go to the Olympics! Dreams do come true!
What does competitive Long Track Speed Skating involve?
It involves a lot of time and heart and definitely dedication because it is such a strict sport, you have to love the competitiveness of it! You race against a clock by yourself but with someone else out with you – because you race in pairs – but you have your own lane. There is a lot of other off-ice training for speed skating. In the summer, you bike a lot, and I mean a lot! Weight training too.
What advice would you give to someone considering taking up Speed Skating?
To love what you are doing, to believe in yourself and no matter what always, always, keep going and don’t ever give up! Also to absolutely love going fast!
Best Speed Skating achievement so far?
Being 5th at the 2010 Olympic trails after only skating on long track ice for about 2.5 years or so. 2014 Olympian.
Aspirations in Speed Skating for 2017 and beyond?
To make dreams come true in 2018! To follow those dreams to where ever they may take me. I want to be able to tell my story to as many, many people as I can. I would love to write a book and be a motivational speaker.
Can you tell us a little about your injury set back and how you keep mentally focussed/strong when recovering from a sporting injury?
My injury is something in my life that I wouldn’t ever change for anything, that was the best thing that could have ever happen to me. I know might sound a little weird, but it definitely is something I truly believe that everything does happen for a reason. I was able to live at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Co for a long time off and on. I was told by the doctors, I wouldn’t ever be able to skate again, at least at the level of dreams that I had hoped for but I wanted to prove them wrong and along with everyone else. It was for sure a setback, but I turned that set back into hopes and dreams. As a little girl, I always wanted to live at the OTC (Olympic Training Center) but I wasn’t ever able to because they didn’t have my sport there! So I turn all of my rehab and workouts that I did there, as something that kept telling me every day, “Don’t ever give up, we got this!” I was able to see the Olympic rings every day, I was able to see hardworking Olympians all around me, and the biggest one Michael Phelps as he could come and go for training there. The sports medical staff became my best friends and still keep in contact with them today because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be at the level that I am at today. I kept strong also because I knew I couldn’t’ workout like I did every day for years like I was used too, so I turned my rehab that I did every day twice a day as my workout, but when I say it was a workout at rehab, I am not kidding! It wasn’t easy! We had so many questions and no idea what was ahead of us, but I didn’t think about that, and I kept focus on how to walk again, run again and most importantly learning how to use my ankle the right way, and making it stronger. You have to look at the little things sometimes to make them the big things in life!!
What are your top 3 sports nutrition tips? Salad, salad, and salad! I really do love salad! But also chicken, pineapple, and salmon.
What are your top three training tips?
My number one tip would be running, I love running, it makes you feel good as you are doing it and along after it. Always feel strong when you are when you are working out and drink Beet It Sport before you do your workouts!
Can you give us an insight into your pre-race morning routine?
I always start off with a bowl of oatmeal, drink a Beet It Sport, go to the rink to get warmed up, taped up, and be ready to go!