There are so many stories happening at races all across the world. But I am just one camera & keyboard, and here is the story I saw at the races on Saturday.

I’ve written a few times about Tony Sargent, a really nice guy who moved to Utah from Oklahoma to try and qualify for Olympic trials. Tony inline speedskated as a kid, and has competed at the elite levels in Golf. Here is a story his local paper ran.

Tony skated a qualifying time late last year for US championships, but this year they lowered the qualification times significantly. These new times were faster than he has ever skated, and although he has improved, his times were not enough to qualify him for nationals or Olympic Trials under the new times.

So his coach changed his training, and peaked him for this weekend. This race was his last chance to qualify for his first trip to nationals, & he needed to skate a sub 39 second 500m.

Coming around the last turn, his long legs and torso churning, he must have known he was on a great race, and how close it was going to be.

38.93 !!!

The eruption of cheers from his teammates, friends & coaches echoed through the whole oval.

In one moment he had qualified for both US national championships this year, and Olympic trials next year.

I speak often of how this sport can break your heart, but when it’s good, when you skate that PB on the day it counts, it’s a feeling like….

Well, Tony, how do you feel?

I’ve called my whole family up, and I pretty much broke down in the locker room, it’s just a huge weight off my shoulders. Huge.

A kid from Oklahoma skating Olympic trials! It’s a good thing! On the Ice! Not something we have much of there.

This is right up there with my best golf days, it feels like I just won a tournament, even though I will be dead last at US championships.

Before I hit a golf ball in a big tournament, I tell myself that I am the best golfer out here, and I know I am going to hit a good shot and I do.

So, before my race today, I told myself that I am the best one out here, and even though I did not skate the best time out here today (note: 13th of the 20 skaters)

I skated my best time, better than I have ever been before. The best Tony that I have ever been.

Congrats Tony! I looked at some of your earliest times, and that kind of improvement is truly remarkable.

From a 47.24 second 500m to a 38.93 in two years takes a stunning amount of hard work!

You would have beaten your first race, head-to head, by over 80 meters.

(check out the cool graph on this German website, DESG, and in english, all of Tony races)

9 Responses to “Tony!!”

  1. Just so everyone out there in speedskating world knows, in the newspaper article it says that I skated a 1:08 in the 1000m, instead of a 1:18. I guess that is what happens when an Oklahoman newspaper trys to write and article on speedskating… I guess I should have recommended that Andrew do it :)

  2. What is it with speedskaters and golf?? Is there a connection that im not seeing?

  3. Way to go, Tony! That IS a truly remarkable improvement in 2 years! I am inspired by your story, especially since I’m in a similar situation…except, instead of a kid from Oklahoma, I’m a 45 year old lady from Minnesota! I qualified for US championships last year (in the 3K), but the newly-lowered 3K time is completely out of reach, and I haven’t been able to make the 5K time yet…I still hope to do it before next October’s or December’s trials. I like your positive mental self-talk before golf and skating; my coach has me doing something similar, but it’s a skill I still struggle with. Congrats, have fun in Milwaukee in 2 weeks, and good luck at trials next October (hopefully I’ll see you there!)

    Andrew, thanks for reporting Tony’s story!

  4. tony rulz!

  5. […] Sargent’s 500-meter Qualifying Time Posted on December 16, 2008 by Peter Doucet In Tony!!, Andrew Love wrote about Tony Sargent and his 500-meter qualifying time to compete in the US […]

  6. Congratulations Tony. Have fun at trials

  7. Way to go Tony! All of us here back at FCA are so thrilled to see what has come of your journey. It is amazing to see how God took you to a whole new world, away from everyone familiar, and used you in the most amazing ways! Keep up the great work! I miss you and can’t wait to hear the stories in person!

  8. Tony, you’re such a stud. Congratulations! I have a new phone number and do not have your phone number anymore. Please send me your info on facebook or by email. You know I’m behind you all the way. We need to catch up, drop me a line.

  9. You’ve made all of us very proud of your accomplishments let alone qualifing for the US Nationals & the Olympic Trials. Keep striving foward & we’ll all be cheering you on.

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