POSTED: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 --- 10:45 p.m.
Reporter: Phil Levin
A 19-year-old long track speedskater from Madison is preparing to try out for the Winter Olympics.
Luke Tweddale began the sport before he turned 12 and recently represented the country twice in World Championships at the junior level. He is currently in Salt Lake City competing in the World Cup Trials where he has already set personal records in several races. He says in a sport where winners are decided by fractions of a second he is still likely a bit off Olympic pace, but hopes to compete in South Korea in 2018.
"My goal right now is to put myself in the best position this year to make it in four years from now," said Tweddale. "It's something I think about every time I get up in the morning. It's just a journey, it's a very long journey."
Tweddale trains at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee alongside 2006 and 2010 Olympic medalist Shani Davis. The facility is also frequented by Verona's Casey FitzRandolph, winner of the 500m long track race at the 2002 games.
"We need to replace sprinters and Luke is one of the up-and-coming sprinters in the United States," said Tweddale's coach Steve Penland. "There are very few people who can do what Luke does, that's why he is where he is."
The 2014 Olympic Team Speedskating Trials begin December 27, 2013. Races will air on NBC 15 and the NBC Sports Network for 11 days. The Olympics will begin February 6, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.