Olympic Bronze Medalist Heather Bergsma Announces 2-Year Break From Speedskating

By Todd Kortemeier | April 11, 2018, 2:44 p.m. (ET)
Heather Bergsma poses for a portrait on April 25, 2017 in West Hollywood, Calif.

 

U.S. speedskater Heather Bergsma has been enjoying life as an Olympic medalist ever since earning bronze in team pursuit at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 in February.

But the pursuit of an Olympic medal means time away from family and friends, something that will change for the 29-year-old Bergsma as she has announced she plans to take a two-year break from the sport. Speaking at the Greensboro Sports Council’s annual luncheon near her hometown of High Point, North Carolina, Bergsma said she wasn’t shutting the door on Beijing 2022, but will re-evaluate whether she wants to pursue a fourth Winter Games at the end of her hiatus.

For now, it’s back to the Netherlands, where she lives with husband Jorrit Bergsma, a three-time Olympic medalist for the Netherlands.

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“I will definitely still stay active,” Bergsma said at the luncheon, “but I’m also definitely not training. I like biking. Biking in the Netherlands is really fun, really simple.”

Whether or not Bergsma returns to the ice, she has assembled a decorated career as a three-time Olympian with 14 world championship medals, 86 world cup medals, 34 of them gold. But her career was marred by Olympic disappointment, notably in Sochi with a seventh-place finish in the 1,000-meter, an event she had dominated in that season’s world cup.

She finally captured her medal in PyeongChang along with teammates Brittany Bowe and Mia Manganello. It was the first Olympic medal for Team USA in team pursuit, and its first women’s long track medal of any kind since 2002.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.