Getting to know Mystique Ro

July 28, 2019, 9:56 a.m. (ET)

Getting to know Mystique Ro

Q: How long have you been competing in skeleton:
A: Two years.

Q: What sports did you participate in before skeleton? How did those sports help prepare you for sliding?
A: I competed in track & field as a heptathlete.Track & field helped prepare me for sliding because I spent nine years of my life learning how to build speed over a short distance. There were some modifications and specific sport adaptations I needed to make (running bent over), but being explosive off the block was a direct transfer from track.

Q: What's your most memorable moment from your rookie year?
A: The most memorable moment from rookie year was finding out I had Raynauds Disease and having to be carried via piggyback into the final team meeting the day before the rookie push championship competition. It was so embarrassing.

Q: Who have you learned the most from in this sport and what was their best lesson?
A: I have learned a lot from Matt Antoine just from watching World Cup races and Hudl videos. Being able to watch his runs and study both what he does and doesn't do is very helpful in handling different scenarios while on a run.

Q: What are your goals for the 2019-2020 season?
A: My goals for the 2019-2020 season are to improve my start and downtimes at Park City and Lake Placid while hopefully getting on some other new tracks. Ultimately I would like to consistently be one of the top three pushers in each of my competitions.

Q: What's your favorite track and why?
A: I really like Park City because it feels flowy (when done correctly) and the build-up of speed is relatively quick.

Q: Do you work?
A: I currently work at Massage Envy.

Q: What's your hometown?
A: Nokesville, Virginia.

Q: What's your favorite thing about your hometown?
A: Pride and participation in local events.

Q: What's your favorite memory of your family?
A: My favorite memory is getting my first dog, Moose, a standard poodle, when I was in high school.

Q: Who has had the most positive impact on your life? How?
A: My college coach, Jim Vahrenkamp, has had the most positive impact on my life. I was his first recruit when he became head coach at Queens University of Charlotte. He gave me an opportunity to fulfill several dreams as a collegiate athlete: 1) Compete at the collegiate 
level; 2) Compete at Penn Relays (competed three out of four years); 3) Compete at NCAA, which I ran my senior year. As a coach, he helped me improve in each of my events during my time at Queens. He has been a great leader and mentor for me, allowing me to shadow him and learn various things both on and off the field. While we've spent countless hours at the track, the lessons and guidance he offered went beyond competition. Unbeknownst to us at the time, him training me helped prepare me to try out for skeleton.

Q: What is something you're terrible at but wish you could do well?
A: I'm really bad at parallel parking.

Q: What is something you never thought you'd be able to do until you actually did it?
A: I never thought I would be able to act until I got on stage to perform in theater.

Q: What is something you've done that you recommend everyone do?
A: I recommend that everyone get on stage and perform.

Q: What is the greatest physical pain you've ever felt?
A: Booty Lock. It's physical proof you did something to make you better, but it's also hilarious watching those suffering try to make their way around.

Q: What expensive thing is absolutely worth the money?
A: A pet... dog.

Q: Do you have any pets?
A: A beagle-mix, Tatanka, who is six months old.

Q: Is there a story about him?
A: I had wanted to get my own dog for a few years, but due to traveling a lot, I wasn't in a position to take care of one. Making the move to 

Charlotte with [my boyfriend] Dan, we decided then would be a good time to get a dog. I looked online at the local animal shelters and found myself on the local animal control website. I saw a listing for a beagle puppy mix. Personally, I wasn't interested in a puppy. I was looking for a dog two years and older, but he was four months old. When we visited the shelter, I asked to see him, and he was a total sweetheart. Realizing hat this shelter didn't keep their dogs very long due to the need for space for new intakes, we decided he would come home with us then and there.

Q: Anything else you'd like people to know about you?
A: When I'm not training or sliding I like to pain and write. I am currently writing a poetry book that I hope to publish within a year or two. My paintings are viewable on my artist Instagram @bla_crastudios. A lot of my art centers around awareness for wildlife and history. There's some abstract pieces as well as pieces I call "Mind Purges."