Olympic Medalist Jennifer Rodriguez to be inducted into National Speed Skating Hall of Fame

April 05, 2019, 11:58 a.m. (ET)

Four-time Olympian and two-time Olympic medalist Jennifer Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) will be inducted into the National Speed Skating Hall of Fame on Friday, June 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Rodriguez made her Olympic debut in the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games, becoming the first Cuban-American to compete in the Games. At the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games, Rodriguez skated to two bronze medals in the 1000m and 1500m. She went on to compete at two more Games in 2006 and 2010.

“Learning that I was being inducted to the Hall of Fame this year, literally brought tears to my eyes,” Rodriguez said. “I am so humbled and honored to be able to receive this recognition. So many people have contributed to my success over the years, and this is for them as well. Thank you so very much!"

Rodriguez was one of the first inline speed skating world medalists to transition to speed skating on ice. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Miami with a degree in exercise physiology.

“Jen was one of those dream athletes who makes a coach love their job,” said USS Head Coach Tom Cushman. “You could give her a workout and see her get better from that one training. You could ask her to make technical or strategic changes and she could make those changes in the next workout or the next race. Even though she was a tenacious competitor, she was a humble and kind teammate. Everyone liked being around Jen, her teammates, her staff and coaches, even her competitors liked and respected her.”

Paul Marchese (Albany, NY), will be inducted into the National Speed Skating Hall of Fame as a Contributor to the Sport. Marchese skated for many years at the national level before beginning his coaching and technical career designing and building speed skates. As the U.S. technical coach in the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Winter Games, and private coach in the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Olympic Games, his technical innovations reshaped the speed skating landscape. Athletes equipped with Marchese skates have captured more than 130 Olympic medals over the past 30 years.

“I’m so very humbled to receive this honor,” Marchese said. “Speed skating has been a lifelong partner, providing so many opportunities that have defined my life and profession, and continues to bring my path across an incredible world of passionate people. I look forward to sharing an evening with my speed skating family and friends!”

More information and tickets to the Hall of Fame Banquet

Additional Quotes:

“What stands out to me most is how disciplined and focused and consistent Jen was,” said USS Head Coach Tom Cushman. “She never backed off of hard training, she never asked for extra time off or easier workouts. She worked hard, she listened, and she followed directions.”

“It may sound like a cliché, but the best thing about working with Jen was her work ethic, determination and mental toughness, both in training, and especially in competition,” said USS Head Coach Ryan Shimabukuro. “She always strived for excellence, and expected the same in me. Which in turn, pushed me to be a better coach for her.”

“Paul is the only person I know that actually loves the sport so much that he’s in it 24/7,” said Jennifer Kirsch, 2018 Master World Champion. “He’s passionate about it. He’ll help anyone out. He’s a great coach and mentor, but I feel like he can just put everything on a small plate and he will be super happy with life.”

“I learned from Paul how to train mentally and physically,” said National Long Track Skater Matt Rittenhouse. “His best lessons were how to deal and adjust to the turbulent world of speedskating, and how to prepare mentally for competitions.”

“I never had anybody take such interest in me like Paul did,” said 2010 Olympic Silver Medalist Trevor Marsicano.