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Jessica Lynn Smith: World Class Speed Skater Goes Inline to Ice

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Jessica Lynn Smith: World Class Speed Skater Goes Inline to Ice
Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

Skating Began as a Toddler:

Jessica Lynn Smith's parents got her involved in speed skating when she was nine months old to help build balance and coordination, and she was competing by the time she was two. At age 12, Jessica was the top performer on the U.S. Inline Speedskating Junior World team. She was the youngest world champion ever, and she earned her first gold medal when she was still just 12 years old.

Inlines Are the Skates She Loves:

Smith started on quad roller skates, but inline speed skating is what she really enjoys.

World Travel is Her Fringe Benefit:

Jessica has enjoyed the international travel opportunities that come with speed skating and has already been to 25 different countries.

She Has Been at the Top of the Inline Speed Game:

Jessica has earned 12 Senior gold medals and 13 Junior gold medals for the United States at the World Inline Speedskating Championships. She participated in the 1997 Pan American Championships where she earned three more gold medals. After winning 14 Junior World inline speed skating titles, Smith decided to move up to the senior team a full year before her age required advancement. She also won a gold medal and two silver medals at the 2007 Pan American Games in Columbia.

Jessica Has Skated Both Inline and Ice:

In 2005 Jessica was invited to join the Wheels to Ice (WHiP) program that was sponsored by U.S. Speedskating. For three years Jessica skated competitively on both ice blades and inline wheels. Eventually she decided to concentrate on ice speed skating.

Short Track Ice Skating Suits Her Skills:

Smith tried long track speed skating in her first season of training on ice and made the United States National team as a distance skater. But she has moved to the short track, because it better suits her skills from her time as an inline speed skating champion.

She Has Made a Place for Herself on Ice:

Jessica earned a bronze medal in the 1000 meters women’s race at the Short Track World Cup Speedskating Team tryouts in St. Louis. She also earned a spot in the 2009 World Short Track Speedskating Championships in Vienna, Austria and the World Team Short Track Speedskating Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands. Smith was an Olympic alternate in 2010 and is currently a member of the US World Cup short track speedskating team.

Jessica is Looking for Olympic Skating Opportunities:

Jessica Lynn Smith was born in Dearborn, Michigan and lived in Melvindale, Michigan during her grade school years. Jessica’s parents were world class roller skaters. Rick Smith was a national qualifier in individual and relay teams events. Her mother, Reina, also skated competitively in national relay events. Both of her parents earned national placements, but neither went on to skate competitively beyond the national level.

Jessica began skating at nine months, started speed skating competition at age two, and has been in the top positions of both marathon racing and traditional inline racing at the world level for many years. She is former Wolverine Speed Team member who benefited from coach Robb Dunn and his lessons in dedication and ethics.

After many inline racing accomplishments, Jessica felt forced to look at new opportunities in the ice speed skating disciplines, since inline racing is not an Olympic sport. In her efforts to get a chance at winning an Olympic medal, Jessica has joined other skaters in the transition from inline to ice skating. And she is now training to seek her dream of becoming a medalist at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Switching from an inline track to ice has been become extremely popular in the decades since ice speed skating became an Olympic sport in 1992. About 65 percent of Team USA’s ice skating medalists have been former inline speed skating champions during recent Olympiads.

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