VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Twelve years ago at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, a 17-year-old speedskating prodigy named Kirstin Holum was tapped for future greatness.
When Holum placed sixth in the 3,000 meters – one of the most grueling disciplines in the women’s program, a lung-scraping four-minute bust of lactic acid torture – speedskating insiders predicted a golden future and speculated she may not even reach her peak for another decade.
Like many of the longer distances, the 3,000 is regularly dominated by older athletes, as it can take years to build up the requisite reserves of aerobic capacity and deep-tissue resilience. At Nagano, 32-year-old Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann of Germany claimed the gold.
Holum was born into speedskating royalty. Her mother Dianne was a world-class speedskater who won Olympic gold in 1972 and reached even greater heights as a coach, mentoring the legendary Eric Heiden to his clean sweep at Lake Placid in 1980.
Despite an ongoing battle with exercise-induced asthma, Holum was a champion waiting to happen. Instead, Nagano would signal the final time she would pull on a pair of skates with competitive intent.
From that point on, her life began an entirely different journey.
“Speedskating was such a huge part of my life,” Holumn said in a telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports. “I still loved the sport, but I had this incredibly strong calling that it was time to move on and take a different path in life.” - Continue reading.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Former Olympian - Now a Religious Sister
I know sisters who have played college volleyball, basketball, and soccer. But, I have never met one that was an Olympian. Cool story.