Speedskater Trevor Marsicano was the world single distance champion in the 1,000-meter race in 2009 and a silver medalist at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in the team pursuit event.
Now he is training hard for the World Cup series and several events throughout the season that lead up to the Olympic qualifiers Dec. 27 through Jan. 1. From there, he hopes to attain a certain placement in order to represent the United States in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Marsicano, originally from Ballston Spa, spent many winter days on the Lake Placid Olympic Oval, where he and his teammates from the Saratoga Winter Club trained to prepare for elite competition.
Trevor Marsicano of Ballston Spa competes in a World Cup event in Salt Lake City.
Photo/Thomas Di Nardo, Bella Faccie Sports Media
In 2009, Marsicano joined the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club and presented awards at one of the Lake Placid meets. He attributes his international success to the sometimes-unpredictable ice and weather conditions at the outdoor track in Lake Placid.
"You have to show up even if the ice is slow or if the wind is in your face, you still have to push through that," Marsicano said. "It definitely helps for indoor competitions because it's so controlled it's almost ridiculous. Dealing with different weather and ice conditions makes you mentally tough and able to brave anything that comes your way."
Perseverance is a word that defines Marsicano. In 2004, he suffered a serious injury competing in short track - the more aggressive style of speed skating, which is held on a hockey rink instead of a 400-meter oval.
After recovering, Marsicano switched to long track, which proved to be a good move. He earned an overall bronze medal at the 2007 World Junior Championships and was fifth at the 2009 World All Around Championships, an impressive placement since he was competing against accomplished skaters like Sven Kramer of Holland and Havard Bokko of Norway.
Then came Marsicano's breakthrough result: a 2009 world championship win in the 1,000-meter race. After that, he continued to compete and qualified for the 2010 Olympics.
But it was not without difficulty.
Being an elite athlete can often take a toll on the body, and Marsicano has suffered back problems for the past several years.
"For the past couple years, the goal has been to figure out that injury and whether or not I should continue to skate if it's going to prohibit me this much," Marsicano said. "I was really thinking about retiring and walking away just because of the injury, but then I got this opportunity that I couldn't pass over and decided to give it one more year. Fortunately, it seems to be going pretty well so far."
That opportunity turned out to be summer training in Oslo, Norway, alongside other international speed skaters. Marsicano said it was "the opportunity that kept me going forward," and the change of scenery was also helpful.
"I guess the biggest difference is lifestyle. Over here in America, it's 'go go go,' but over there it's very calm and relaxed," Marsicano said.
That summer training time, along with consultations with physical therapists in Milwaukee and New York, helped prepare Marsicano for a new competition season.
Now Marsicano is gearing up for several World Cup events, as well as the Olympic qualifier. The World Cup event in Astana, Kazakhstan is Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, followed by the World Cup event in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 6 through 8. The Olympic qualifier is Dec. 27 to Jan. 1 in Salt Lake City.
From there, Marsicano is hoping to qualify for the Sochi Olympics, which would be his second Olympics.
"Learning from the last Olympics, I would try to get out a little more and explore beyond the oval and the Olympic Village, and enjoy the Olympic experience," he said.