The Questions with Jay Ingram

Current Coach and previous Speed Committee Chair, Team Staff, and Athlete, Jay Ingram took some time to answer The Questions! We want to send out a big THANK YOU to Jay for his time as the Speed Committee Chair in 2017 and 2018.  
How long have you been involved with speed skating?

  • Skating, most of my life
  • Speed skating since 1977.

What keeps you in the sport? 

The love of the sport, the people, the health benefits.

What are some accomplishments you have had in the sport?

As a coach: Getting athletes fast at all levels, for some just getting them to feel comfortable skating and in becoming healthier. Right now, I am enjoying very much working with my elite and advanced athletes while at the same time teaching many at all ages just to stand up and skate. That was a major accomplishment this past Christmas Holiday, a much enjoyable one.

As an athlete: State Champion when that meant something. You had to place 1st through 3rd in all events at the State Championships to make it to regionals, anything else, you stayed home or were spectating the regional championships. Multi times throughout three decades Regional Champion as well as overall nine-time individual National Champion in division. Becoming a coach, demonstrating, then eventually coaching at USARS Clinics, being hired in as USARS Speed and Artistic Sports director, several times USARS World Team Coach and several time USARS World Team Manager from 2000 to present., selection to USARS Speed Committe in the late 90ss, early 2000s with applying to USARS Speed Committee in 2016 and being accepted to it in the fall of that year. Chairperson of USARS Speed Committee elected to that position by other members from the committee in 2017, 2018.

Do you get more nervous as a coach or a competitor?  I did both at the same time at all levels except World Championships, in doing so the nervousness would cancel each other out, eventually I really did not care about how I felt, but more about my athletes and what they wanted and needed. My nail biting has become worse since I stopped competing and am just helping my athletes and others accomplish their goals.

What is your favorite competition? In this Great Country the USARS Nationals Championships indoors and out. The reason - because both are the beginning or the end of other great avenues for athletes, their parents, and coaches. Internationally, Arena Geisingen International, It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest International Banked track events in the World. It is often times on par, if not above the World Championships. However, there ALL athletes can compete in all races. Compared to coaching at and managing at the World Championships, this is SOOOO very relaxing LOL.

What is the best thing about the sport?

  • The people, the passion, the relationships created that are still strong over the decades

What is it missing? I guess Olympic status? I figure then the rest of the world and other sports would know what we all already know about how amazing this sport is.

What do you like to do outside of skating? Travel, and be with family while traveling.

What is your favorite meal? Song? Movie? Color? Book? Podcast?

  • Olgas Kitchen
  • Songs always change
  • Empire Strikes Back
  • Orange
  • Too many to mention and always adding

Sprinkles or no sprinkles? Depends on my mood

Ketchup or mustard? Both

Coke or Pepsi? Both

McDonald’s or Burger King? Decades ago, both – now, home-cooked burgers.

What advice do you have for a new coach? Hang out with a pyschologist. Seriously, LISTEN, all athletes’ feelings are valid to them within, you need to work with those emotions even if you conquered them or something like it 100 years ago. To those athletes it is right here, right now, like a first kiss or first spoken presentation to a few people or thousands, joy or embarrassment - work through it with your athletes. It could be the difference between them being successful or not.

Within reason do what you do for your athletes, and others, it is about them, without them there is no need for any of this. I say within reason because you can and many have done too much and often get abused in some way or other, I have seen it and I have as well without even seeing it.

How do you manage nerves? FACE IT, admit to it as a competitor so that you are actually competing against the other people on the track, and not the one in your head.

As a coach, depending on the athletes, some want to know and see you are nervous, but always be reassuring, while others, LOL, even though you are, need your confidence with that same reassurance, and knowing you care.  

Everyone is busy, how do you fit it all in? I don't, I AM ALWAYS LATE, and when I am not, I am usually missing something or getting to it at 12 a.m., 3 a.m......

Do you like the smell of Roll On? YES, but now at 53, I’m thinking that is a bad thing in SO many ways.

What motivates you? Living, helping others reach their goals, not just in this sport, but in life. I have always stated that this is more than just a sport. I know for many of us it is FAMILY.

Anything else we should know about you? Yes, this sport has some AMAZING HISTORY, I mean books and movies, sitcoms and drama fictional and non-true to life could be made generating some major cashflow with that history. I GIVE credit and PROPS to all the coaches and athletes past and present out there who have inspired a young athlete to be themselves and to be the best they could be. For me, it was George Hook and Jon Long when I was younger. I have not talked to George or seen him since the 70s, but I remember him like many of us who coach do. He would drive me to and or from practices when I could barely go fast and cross. My parents thought I was just skating session at 7 a.m. or 6 p.m. I would walk two miles to the rink, no lie, just to skate a practice. Jon Long, I have reconnected with via Facebook. He is amazed at where the sport is. I was a beginner he coached with about 15 other beginners he obviously inspired me. Chris Heartly, who still skates now and coaches would ride to practice  skate and ride back home, he was not our coach, not even a teammate, just a guy who skated practices with us, this was in the 1970s or so, you did not see that back then. Chris was not a national champion, not sure about state or regional, but he was someone we wanted to be, we all wanted to be fast like him, better like him. People road their choppers while smoking back then, LOL. Again, for me as a teenager, it was Virgil and Sue Dooley most people in this sport have heard of them. They have a major connection to so many athletes, clubs and coaches throughout this country who owe what they do to them, myself included. Also in my teens to early twenties and beyond, Mr. Robb Dunn as teammate and my coach, and the person who not only got me to win my first national division title several times, he also purchased my first coaches card for me. Robb, for me and many others on my team back then, a decade or so before I coached was like a god in our sport. Three times in a row he won senior men's overall title, back then that was not an easy task. As a coach, honestly every coach I have come in contact with. PEOPLE really help make us who we are. Jan and Rick Porter - loved these people and miss them both. Renee Hildebrand, what can I say, we have done loads together within this sport. Mark Muse, he's "MARK" - if you know him, you know what I mean. Paul DiJulio, he needs to come back in some form or fashion. Dennis King Senior - so wise - worked with Jan and myself loads - both are missed very much. Ricky Brock - great guy, other than seeing odd things in Colorado Springs LOL. Linda Wood - we were a great team. Wade Newman - not many know him, but he loved this sport. Jenny and BJ Steketee with their village of children. Chris Keesler made me a better coach helping him to become one. Charlie Lucas - I wish I would have known Charlie Lucas two decades back. I mean, I knew of Charlie Lucas, but did not know Charlie Lucas. Jeff Foster, many do not know this, but he can be a softy. I FEEL at the 1994 National Championships, Jeff let me win the start of the 500-meter final. I had better corners and just broke the record twice, but Jeff had the better start and we were not in the heat or semis together, but I knew if I could beat him I would be gone LOL, NO ONE BEAT JEFF FOSTER on a start back then, and he was even tougher to pass. Maybe I am off with this fact in my head, but in either case, it helped secure my first national-overall win. There are many, many, many more coaches and athletes I have worked with and coached who have helped me be me and continue to do so. For the athletes and some coaches, many are really unaware of what they can create or destroy for themselves and others at all levels. In keeping this positive, to which many who know me state I do too much, I have seen inspiration in ways that have lead to a beginner just taking their first crosses, to making it out of regionals, to a national placement, a World Team member to World Champion, Olympic Champion, Dr., lawyer, coach, mother, father, grandparents, Speed/Art Director, rink owner and so on -  all due in part to this AMAZING SPORT, and most importantly the people who were and are in it.