Kelly Gunther is a beautiful athlete who discovered her love for figure skating at a very early age.
At the ripe old age of just 6 she decided to try inline racing.
After dominating the inline circuit, Kelly made the switch to the ice and quickly rose to become one of the most promising prospects of the American Long-Track Speed Skating Team.
After narrowly missing the Vancouver Olympics, Kelly suffered a horrific ankle injury in training.
Against all odds, she was back on the ice only months later. Three years later, Kelly is firmly entrenched on the US National Speed Skating Team.
Now, Kelly is getting ready for
. the US World Cup Qualifications
. the Qualifications to represent Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Let’s discuss with Kelly and follow her journey to the Winter Olympics!
. How did you discover skating?
I discovered skating by just going to the roller rink on a Sunday afternoon for a “family skate” and just fell in love with it, I never wanted to leave! I just wanted to keep doing it over and over again and get the hang of these wheels under my feel and how they really worked! All I wanted to do was spin really, really fast and fall! That was fun to me as a little girl! Then watching figure skating as that little girl, I knew right there and then that’s what I wanted to do.
. You came back from a dramatic accident, tell us what happened and how you did find the courage to step back onto the ice?
I fell going into the very first corner of a 500M race and the last races of the season of the 2010 year. I’m not actually sure what had happen besides I did not have my foot firmly in the ice & my feet just slipped out and went feet first into the pads. there was so much momentum but my foot stuck into the wall like a dart. Think tearing a drumstick off a chicken…
I will never forget this day ever. After doing months and months of rehab in Colorado Springs, CO and having to find my support group I just knew that I could do it, or at least wanted too, I didn’t know if I was going to be able. After being off my skates for 6 months (the longest I’ve ever been off of them since I put them on.) I wasn’t sure what was ahead of me, but I had talked to all the people who were supposed to know these things. For a month I was wondering was going to be okay? Or was I done? I had so many questions that no one had the answers to. After another month of doing more and more rehab, I was ready to step out on the ice for the very first time since my crash.
I was pretty scared, I can’t lie to you and say I wasn’t because I was, but I just found the courage inside of me to just overcome that fear.
. How has the injury affect you & what did the accident change?
My very first race since I had fallen, I can’t say the same. The morning of the race I was shaking. I had to face the corner of where I had fallen and now here I was not even a year later. Scared to death, I cried standing there at the starting line and just staring at that corner, but I knew I had something to overcome. I never had to face such a big fear in my life before, but ay know how they say, you’re biggest fear is the one you don’t come face to face with? Well, I had come face to face with mine and I was not going to let it beat me or get me down. I overcame it and I knew I had too if I wanted to keep skating and make my dreams come true.
The injury has taught me so much about LIFE and who you really are. I could have easily just walked away from the sport that I loved for so long right there and there, but I knew I couldn’t let it affect me it was just something I had to deal with and learn how to deal with it!
The accident has really shown me how to grow up and find your team & your support team who’s going to be behind you. I had really found that doing all of this. Doing my rehab in Colorado it just changed it all, If I wasn’t there I really don’t think I would be back up on my feet and skating where I am at today. I had to start ALL back over as if I never knew how to skate. I had to teach myankle to bend, run, and your everyday stuff that you may not think that is so hard, but when your ankle isn’t so strong its hard!
. How do you prepare to race off the ice?
I prepare off the ice with a lot of different training. Weight training, running, dryalnd, biking, and hot yoga!
. Today is “T-100 Days to Sochi”. Aside from making the team, what are some of your objectives ?
Wow, Only a 100 days! How exciting! Thinking about it, just gives me the chills and very excited about making my dreams come true!
My Other objectives are showing and helping kids know that they can do anything that they want if they just believe! Just because you have a huge fear in front of you or whatever it may be, you can’t just ignore it. You must face it as scared as you may be, you have to overcome it and know it will be the best feeling in the world once you do!
. What is #TeamKG ?
#TeamKG means are you ready to come along with me and see how this journey is going to happen! When the world seems to turn against you, you have to be ready to believe WE GOT OURSELVES A GAME!!!
I would like to take the time to say, “Thank you for my Mom who has been there for me no matter what has happen. She’s my rock, best friend, coach(So she thinks or helps out!) and so much more to me than just my Mom. If it wasn’t for sure always believing in me and letting me know that it was going to be okay, I’m not sure I can say I’d be where am today. Thanks Mom for everything and for putting your life on hold for my dreams! I’d also like to thank my friend & agent Chuck Vine for believing in me and not giving me a chance to prove him wrong! I’d would like to thank you (Julie) for this time to interview me & and ask me these questions! I really enjoyed answering them and I hope you liked what you got to read a little bit about me! I’m hoping it will inspire people to want to support me & even contribute to my ‘Rally Me’ campaign. It’s becoming almost impossible to pay my living expenses & pay for my training and equipment. I don’t get any financial support for being on the US National Team!
But after my ankle, I know a thing or two about overcoming impossible!