Wyoming native Brianna Bocox is a talented, up-and-coming long track speed skater who has Beijing 2022 in her sights. The 21-year-old is one of the youngest members on the National Long Track Team and has proven herself this year, racing in several world cup events, and competing this weekend in the World Sprint Championships in The Netherlands.
“I’m so excited for this great opportunity,” Brianna says. “It’ll be fun to compete in a place where speed skating is appreciated at a level much like the Super Bowl.”
Having competed in her first World Cup Series this year, she’s learned that racing domestically is different than racing internationally. “I didn’t know what to expect competing at the international level. I jumped in! I have a competitive spirit that has been fueled by the international competitors I’ve encountered during this series of competitions.”
Bri isn’t new to international competitions. She started racing inline when she was 12, traveling to worldwide events before switching to long track speed skating when she was 18. She moved to Salt Lake City to train at the Utah Olympic Oval where the transition from inline to ice didn’t come naturally. But Bri likes a challenge. She says stress makes her sharper and able to push herself harder. “Skating on ice is so much about technique. It has to be flawless, where on inline technique doesn’t matter so much.”
For the most part, Bri enjoys the intense training needed to become an Olympic athlete, although when USS Head Coach Ryan Shimabukuro took the team on a bike ride up Big Cottonwood Canyon, she wasn’t sure she’d make it. “But Ryan wouldn’t let me stop. As a reward, I bought myself a dog for making it up the canyon.”
Growing up on a farm in Cheyenne, Bri was always around animals. Getting her rescue dogs, Bobby and Bron, both Chihuahua mixes, has made living away from home much easier. “It’s nice to come home to my dogs every day. If I’ve had a hard practice or a bad practice, it’s nice to have them around showering me with love when I get home.”
Recovering from a back injury, Bri has begun to focus on developing strength, getting faster and stronger at every event. She knows long track skaters get better as they get older, and she’s ready for that to happen, knowing that success is about maturity and strength. She’s achieved personal bests this season and continues to shave seconds off her times.
In addition to training full-time at the Oval, Bri is studying forensic science at Utah Valley University. As of this spring she is enrolled in fingerprint comparison analysis, forensic microscopy, and a course called Special Problems in Criminal Justice. “Forensics has always been fascinating to me. It’s a job where I can help solve crimes without being directly in the line of action.”
With her sights set on skating on Olympic ice in 2022, the sprinter known and recognized for her flaming red hair is sure to put everything on the line, every day, every time.