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USS Names the 2022-23 Short Track Development Skaters of the Year

May 24, 2022, 1:52 p.m. (ET)

USS is proud to announce your Short Track Development Skaters of the Year; Grace Lee and Daniel Yoon! These skaters were awarded this title based off of their performances during the 2021-22 season. We asked each skater to fill out a questionnaire to get to know more about their speed skating careers, hobbies and so much more! To learn more about Grace and Daniel, read what they had to say below.

 

Name: Grace Lee

Age: 15

Club: Puget Sound Speed Skating Club

Coach: Chang Ho Lee

Who inspires you in speedskating?
I’ve always looked up to Choi Min Jeong because of her outstanding skating accomplishments.

Where will you be in ten years?
In ten years, I hope that I will be pursing a career path in the medical field.

What other sports do you play?
I do not play any sports other than speedskating, as school and skating already take much of the time I have. When I was younger however, I participated in sports like gymnastics, acrobatics, and played the piano along with speedskating.

What are your other hobbies?
I love hiking with my dog, playing card games with my siblings, and drawing. These hobbies really help me relax when I am stressed.

How did you get involved in speedskating?
When my family and I lived in Korea, my brother started speedskating while my sister and I figure skated. When me moved to Washington however, we started to speed skate with PSSC.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I would consider being National Champion multiple times and receiving the title of Junior Development Skater of the Year as my greatest accomplishments. 

What is your favorite subject in school?
Currently, my favorite subject in school is chemistry because the labs we do are especially engaging, and the material is very interesting. Although chemistry is quite difficult for me, the support I’ve received from my teacher and peers have made the subject easier and much more likable.

What are your goals for speedskating in the next few years?
My goals for speedskating in the next few years are making the junior world team, and hopefully the Youth Olympic Team. Being able to skate at international competitions has been a big motivation for me, so accomplishing these goals would be very meaningful.

What is your favorite exercise during dryland training?
My favorite exercise during dryland is imitations. Although it is quite painful, I feel that I can really focus on my technique and improve my form on the ice.

What’s your favorite post-race snack?
My favorite post-race snack is any kind of fruit because it makes me feel more refreshed, and ready to skate. I don’t like eating heavier foods however, because it makes me feel more sluggish and nauseous at times.

Where is your favorite place to race?
My favorite place to race is Utah because Utah ice makes me feel much faster than when I skate on any other rinks. I have also set all my personal best times there.

What’s your craziest hidden talent?
I used to be able to dislocate my shoulders and pop them back into place but haven’t done it since a terrifying incident where I couldn’t pop my shoulders back in.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I would like to thank my parents and my coaches in helping me get to this point. Their immense support has motivated me to work harder and guided me during emotional hardships.







Name: Daniel Yoon

Age: 16

Club: Potomac Skating Club

Coach: Simon Cho and Jimmy Jang

Who inspires you in speedskating?
Kwak Yoongy and Viktor Ahn. On most nights, I would find myself in a loop watching and analyzing Viktor’s passes. Every race with him in it would be interesting, as I would often find myself trying to imitate him during practices and races. Kwak Yoongy has also been a big inspiration for me as his positive attitude toward skating has helped me to stay positive even when practice gets tough.

Where will you be in ten years?
In 10 years, I hope to have graduated from college and gotten a degree in engineering. From there, I hope to either get a job related to the field or become a coach.

What other sports do you play?
When I was younger, I used to play a variety of sports. From football to ping-pong, I did it all, but now I only focus on my skating career. Recently though, I’ve picked up basketball and play just for fun.

What are your other hobbies?
I have been playing cello for as long as I can remember and also enjoy cooking in my free time.

How did you get involved in speedskating?
After finishing my learn to skate session, I was changing on the bleachers when I saw another group of skaters get on. I expected it to be a group of figure skaters, but was surprised to see that it was the Potomac Speedskating Club instead. I stayed and watch for a few minutes, intrigued by the long blades and funny-looking suits. However, after watching for a about an hour, I was amazed by how the skaters were able to skate so fast while being in such a low position. I hadn’t seen anything that combined speed and technique so well and immediately knew this was something that I had to try. After begging my mom for the next few days, I was on the ice the next week and have been since then.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishments would be taking part in the 2022 Beijing Olympic Team Trials and becoming the Junior B national champion.

What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subjects in school are anything STEM-related. I’ve enjoyed all the science-related classes ‌I’ve taken, but specifically enjoyed physics the most. Although this was partially because of my great teachers, I also became interested in how physics applied to skating: particularly the different ways my height, weight, and lean affect my speed.

What are your goals for speedskating in the next few years?
Over the next few years, my goals would be to make the World Cup team and possibly the 2026 Olympic Team.

What is your favorite exercise during dryland training?
My favorite exercise during dryland training would be running. At first, I hated running in the forest every Sunday. Yet, as I kept running, I found ‌it a good way to escape from all the school and skating-related stress that had built up during the week. As time went on, I began to enjoy running more, as it eventually became my favorite dryland exercise.

What’s your favorite post-race snack?
After each race, I’ll either have a banana or a protein bar to ‌keep things at light as possible.

Where is your favorite place to race?
My favorite place to race would have to be Utah because of how fast the ice is and all the people I get to meet there.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I would like to thank my parents, coaches, teachers, and all who have supported me in helping me get to where I am now. I will continue to try my hardest in pursuing my goals and hope that everyone will continue to lend me their support in the future.