Corinne Stoddard and her year of success

April 23, 2020, 12:33 p.m. (ET)

Short track speedskater Corinne Stoddard is one of the thousands of high school seniors missing their final months - and graduation. But, then again, Corie’s high school experience never followed the traditional route.

Two years ago, when she moved from Washington to Utah to train with the National Short Track Team at the Utah Olympic Oval, she was a junior in high school. Because of the full-time training, Corie could not attend a regular high school, so she opted to participate online to complete her education.

“I didn’t have time to go to school,” Corie said. “I’d get home from practice at five then go online to do my schoolwork.”

Last summer, Corie became a World Junior Inline Champion and in February she won a silver and bronze medal at the World Junior Short Track Championships. But then the coronavirus hit, and everything changed.

With all the international competitions, Corie’s senior year has been especially hard and she fell behind in her classes. That was one benefit of the COVID-19 lockdown: she was able to get caught up with her studies and will finish ahead of schedule to earn her high school diploma.

Corie attended two high schools in Washington, Bonney Lake and Decatur High. She lost out on normal teenage activities, including the social aspects of high school like hanging out with friends and enjoying high school sports. But she feels it was a good choice since the trade-off has been she’s able to train at an Olympic Training Center every day and travel the world for events.

“My friends in Washington, they’re really bummed,” she said. “They’re upset and disappointed about missing prom and graduation. The bright side is they didn’t have to go to school for three months, and they’re still getting their diploma without finishing the last big tests. Other than that, it sucks.”

Corie plans to attend Salt Lake Community College in the fall, to start her general studies, before deciding on a four-year university. With the 2022 Olympic Winter Games less than two years away, choosing a college major isn’t a priority for the 18-year-old. Her eyes are on the Olympic Games.

“I’m just happy that I’m graduating, and I won’t have to six classes at the same time, like I do now. Soon I’ll be in college and I can choose the classes I want to take that work around my training schedule better.”

Corie’s parents, Paul and Vicki Stoddard, are her number one fans. They fully supported her move to Utah and are happy to see her finish this portion of her education as she achieves athletic success on the international stage.

“We are both extremely proud of Corie graduating high school,” Vicki said. “Online school was very difficult, and she had to travel and compete internationally while maintaining a high scholastic average. Just like all of the other parents of 2020 graduates, it breaks my heart as a mom that she will not be participating in any graduation ceremony because of COVID19; but it does not take away from all the efforts these kids have put into their scholastic achievements.”

Corie recently returned to Utah from Washington, after visiting with her family and is spending the next two weeks in quarantine before she starts training with the team. She’s glad to be back, even if that means training at a social distance.

“It’s been really hard for me, training on my own,” Corie said “I’m not really an individual training person, I like to have a team push me. It’s been hard to workout when I don’t have a team to push me. I’ll be glad to get things back to normal.”