Duluth's Ringsred back at full speed in speedskating

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 7, 2014 - 11:00 PM

Duluth’s Anna Ringsred took a break from speedskating, only to make the Olympics after returning.

hide

Anna Ringsred competed in the women’s 3,000 meters during the U.S. Olympic speedskating trials.

– Had she not broken her ankle while ski jumping, Anna Ringsred might still be flying off snowy hills. But that was enough for her mother, Debbie, to put an end to that daredevil pursuit and point her only daughter toward something a little more sedate.

She found it quite by accident, through a newspaper advertisement announcing a speedskating meet. “I was 13 when I started, which is kind of old,” said Ringsred, who grew up in Duluth. “I was never one of those kids who dreamed of being in the Olympics. I just fell into the sport. And here I am.”

Quite unexpectedly, too. Ringsred, 29, quit speedskating after failing to make the Olympic team in 2010, weary of the sacrifices necessary to compete at the highest level. Two years later — after finding a fulfilling life outside of sports — she was ready to return. Sunday, she will compete in the first and only Olympic race of her career, the 3,000 meters at Sochi’s Adler Arena.

After stepping away from speedskating, Ringsred backpacked around Europe, finished her college degree in chemical engineering and went to Canada to began a career in Calgary. Since resuming training last season, she has had some of the best results of her career. In December, she finished second to Jilleanne Rookard at the U.S. Olympic trials to earn a spot on the team for Sochi, clocking a time of 4 minutes, 13.80 seconds.

“I came back not just to make the Olympics but because I loved speedskating again,” said Ringsred, who graduated from Duluth Marshall High School. “Now, I see it as being about personal growth, not just medals and [making elite] teams.

“I had a better attitude going in, and that was a big part of why I was able to make the team. I didn’t put so much pressure on myself, because in my mind, I had already won.”

Ringsred always enjoyed sports, but she was never fully comfortable with setting aside the rest of her life to follow a single pursuit. She learned to skate while playing pond hockey with her three brothers, and she began speedskating at outdoor ovals in Duluth.

Despite her relatively late start in the sport, coach Andrey Zhuikov saw Ringsred’s potential. He urged her to begin training at the John Rose Oval in Roseville, which required her to get up at 3 a.m. every Saturday to drive to the Twin Cities. Though she chafed a bit at not having time to enjoy other high school activities, Zhuikov’s encouragement kept her going — and the results followed.

Ringsred moved to Calgary to train after graduating from high school. She began competing on the World Cup circuit and made it to the world championships in 2007, where she finished fifth in team pursuit. She felt her training was good enough to carry her to the Olympic team in 2010, but she was overcome by nerves before the 3,000 at the Olympic trials and did not make the team.

With her plans derailed, Ringsred took a step back. “I was disappointed,” she said. “I wanted to move on. I had been doing it for so long, 12 years at that point, and I wanted to be a young person. I wanted to have the experiences I hadn’t had.”

After starting work as an engineer at Spartan Controls in Calgary, Ringsred began to feel she had unfinished business. With the help of her employer, who allowed her a flexible work schedule and gave her sponsorship money, she plunged back into training.

Ringsred found success in her first season back in 2012-13, finishing 20th at the world allround championships and earning an 18th-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the world single-distance championships. Coming into this season, she said, she felt good about her chances of making the Olympic team, but she did not want to be overconfident.

Her parents, Eric and Debbie, came to the trials for the first time and saw her earn her way onto the Olympic team. They also have come to Sochi, along with her brothers.

“When I made the team, I started to cry,” Ringsred said. “I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t believe it for a couple of days. I didn’t think it was ever going to happen.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox 3 Top 9th Inning
NY Yankees 5
Tampa Bay 4 Top 10th Inning
Toronto 4
Detroit 4 Top 8th Inning
Minnesota 12
Seattle 7 Bottom 6th Inning
Boston 3
Baltimore 2 Delayed
Chicago Cubs 4
San Francisco 0 Delayed
Washington 0
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
Oklahoma State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
Columbus
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 4:00 PM
Washington
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you feel about Kevin Love leaving the Wolves?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close