US speedskating athletes set to compete at the Youth Olympic Games

By Katy Ralston | Jan. 10, 2020, 2:16 p.m. (ET)

Upon the successful completion of both the U.S. Long and Short Track Championships, five talented athletes are shifting their focus and will be jetting off to Switzerland this week to join Team USA at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. 

Short track athletes Jenell Berhorst, Hailey Choi, Jonathan So, and long track athletes Jonathan Tobon and Jordon Stolz will represent Team USA and compete against athletes from many different countries. 

The Long Track events will take place on the frozen lake of St. Moritz from January 12-16 and the Short Track events will take place at the newly renovated Malley Ice Rink in Lausanne from January 18-22.  Join us in wishing these five athletes the best of luck over the coming weeks!       

 

Jenell Berhorst (Auburn, Wash.)

Jenell began her speed skating career at the age of 6 as an inline speedskater when an after-school skate night sparked her interest. She was so impressed with how fast the other skaters could go that her parents enrolled her in lessons and Jenell soon enjoyed numerous successes with inline skating. 

After two years on inlines, she was introduced to short and long track speed skating on ice with Coach Chang-Ho Lee and the Puget Sound Speed Skating Club.  A sophomore at Auburn High School in Auburn, WA, Jenell also participates in Girls Wrestling and Track & Field, is a member of the Honor Society, plays the piano, cello, ukulele, and enjoys drawing.  Jenell notes her biggest accomplishment to date as being named to the 2020 U.S. Youth Olympic Team.

Jenell’s goal for Youth Olympics

“To skate my very best and get personal best times in all of my distances.”

What she is most looking forward to about Youth Olympics

“Traveling to Switzerland because it will be my first time there and to Europe as well.  I’m also excited to be representing the U.S. and competing against the best of the best from all over the world.  I am excited to meet new people and looking forward to the experience that the Youth Olympics will give me.”

 

Hailey Choi (Oakton, Va.)

Residing in Oakton, VA, Hailey is one of the newest members of the Short Track National Training Program. She is soaking up experiences while being on her first senior World Cup circuit this season.  Hailey began skating during free skate sessions, while her older brother Jay had private speed skating lessons. She raced the hockey players during free skate, and with the encouragement of her mom and speed skating coach, her free skate sessions turned into practices with the Potomac Speedskating Club.  When she is not training and racing, Hailey is a talented artist and also works with the Special Olympics Team where she coaches her brother Jay, who is a Special Olympic speed skating athlete. Securing a spot on the 2020 Youth Olympic Team was one of Hailey’s main goals for this season, so she is very honored and excited for this opportunity.   

Hailey’s goal for Youth Olympics:

“My goal for the Youth Olympics is to bring home a medal! I also hope to gain more experience and to learn from it.”

What she is most looking forward to about Youth Olympics:

“First of all, I'm excited about going to Switzerland for the first time.  I am also looking forward to meeting new people and being a part of the Games. However, the thing I'm looking forward to the most is the fact that I'll be racing at the Youth Olympic Games, as an athlete representing the USA.”

 

Jonathan So (Reston, Va.)

Jonathan began speed skating when he was just 5 years old in his hometown of Reston, Va., with Dominion Speedskating Club. Now, at 17, Jonathan is one of the youngest members of the Short Track National Training Program. After spending the past two years training with the National Team and enjoying his second season on the World Cup circuit, Jonathan is ready to bring his experience to the Youth Olympics.

With the help of Short Track Head Coach Wilma Boomstra, he has been working feverously on his mental toughness, physical strength, speed and endurance.  Between grueling training sessions, he is finishing high school online and finds time for fun by playing basketball, video games, listening to music, and singing/rapping.  Jonathan is looking forward to racing in Lausanne and cannot wait to see what he can do.

Jonathan’s goal for Youth Olympics:

“My goal for the Youth Olympic Games is to win a medal for the U.S.!  I’ve been training really hard and I’m confident in my ability to be a medal contender.”

What he is most looking forward to about Youth Olympics:

“I’m super excited for the atmosphere and environment.  I heard that they treat it like it’s the actual Olympics so that’s something that I’m really looking forward to.  I’ve also never been to Switzerland; I’ve only seen pictures and it looks beautiful, so that’s also something that will be cool to experience!”

 

Jonathan Tobon (Milwaukee, Wisc.)

Jonathan began skating eight years ago in a Learn to Speed Skate class at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, WI.  He later joined the Wisconsin Speedskating Club and is currently training with the Academy of Speed Skating Excellence, based in Milwaukee. 

Jonathan didn’t like skating much at first, but as he continued to skate and train, he grew fond of the speed, the people, and the atmosphere.  He loves traveling and immersing himself in the varying cultures in the countries where skating has taken him.  Jonathan attends Marquette University High School where, during his offseason from skating, he competes with the high school’s track and field team, citing the 4x400 and 4x200 as his favorite distances. 

He was recently named to his second U.S. Junior World Championship team and had great races in Norway and the Netherlands at the Junior World Cup events earlier this season where he secured a quota spot for the U.S. at the Youth Olympic Games.  Jonathan is looking to continue his momentum into the coming weeks while gaining valuable racing experience.

Jonathan’s goal for Youth Olympics:

“My goal is to place as well as I can in all four events, especially the 1500m. I have been preparing and focusing on this particular distance since the beginning of this season. My endurance and lap times have improved and I feel confident in my abilities to execute a solid race.”

What he is most looking forward to about Youth Olympics:

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent the United States on the world stage once more for US Speedskating.  I am also grateful for the immersive cultural experience that the Youth Olympic Games will provide to Team USA and myself.  I am eager to see skaters that I’ve met in past international competitions and make new connections during my time in Switzerland.”             

 

Jordan Stolz (West Bend, Wisc.)

Jordan got involved with speed skating at 6 years old after watching Apolo Ohno in the 2010 Olympics.  He asked his parents if he could try skating and after slipping and sliding on a shoveled track on their frozen pond, eventually made his way to the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, Wisc., for Learn to Speed Skate sessions. 

From there, he joined the Badger Speed Skating Club, and now races and trains with the Wisconsin Speed Skating Club. During his spare time away from the ice and dryland training, Jordan enjoys hiking, biking, and fishing, and even competes in cycling during the summer.  Jonathan recently made his first U.S. Junior World Championship team, and is excited to use his racing experience in Switzerland.

Jordan’s goal for Youth Olympics:

“My goals for the Youth Olympics are to be in the top 5 in the 500m, hopefully in the top 3 though. In the Mass Start, my goal is to medal.”

What he is most looking forward to about Youth Olympics:

“I’m really looking forward to racing in the mountains on an outdoor track on a lake.”

 

Speedskating Schedule

Lake St. Moritz
LT Jan. 12   Men's 500 Jordan Stolz / Jonathan Tobon 11:30 (SWI) 3:30am (MT)
LT Jan. 13   Men's 1500 Jordan Stolz / Jonathan Tobon 11:30 (SWI) 3:30 am (MT)
LT Jan. 15    Team Sprint Jordan Stolz / Jonathan Tobon 11:30 (SWI) 3:30am (MT)
LT Jan. 16 Mass Start Jordan Stolz / Jonathan Tobon 11:30 (SWI) 3:30am (MT)

Malley Ice Rink
ST Jan. 18 Women's 1000 Jenell Berhorst / Hailey Choi 11:00 (SWI) 3:00am (MT)
ST Jan. 18 Men's 1000m Jonathan So 11:30 (SWI) 3:30am (MT)
ST Jan. 20 Men's 500m Jonathan So 1:00 (SW) 5am (MT)
ST Jan. 20 Women's 500m Jenell Berhorst / Hailey Choi 1:30 (SW) 5:30 (MT)
ST Jan. 22 Mixed Relay 10:00 (SW) 2am (MT)

 

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