Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interview with Short Tracker Jeff Simon

Hank: Jeff, I’m sure that many people who are reading this know who you are, but for the ones who do not, could you give a summary of who you are and what you do?

Jeff:   I’m an elite athlete in the sport of short track speed skating.  I am the 2011 US National Champion and hold multiple US records.  I like to hang out with my friends, because that is the most important aspect of life.  Establishing those relationships is one of the most valuable things in one’s life.   You can’t beat having a friend for life. 

Hank:  I completely agree with you.  This year has been a very good year for you on the ice.  Explain why you think you have performed so well.

Jeff:  I think that I have had a lot of success due to the people that surround me; from my coaches in LA and Salt Lake City, and my friends all around the world.  But most important, what I really believe drives me to be successful is my family.  I think that there is still a lot of room for growth, and I look forward to the struggles that lie ahead. 

Hank:  Tell me about everything you have accomplished this year, as far as results go.

Jeff:  This year I got 5 World Cup medals; 1 gold, 2 silvers, 2 bronze.  I was the US National Champion.  And I set the 1500 and 1000 meter national records.  I have the World Championships coming up and I look forward to having a break out meet.

Hank:  Well congratulations on all your success this year.  Now, on to a day in your life.  Walk us through your average training day.

Jeff:  Well, I wake up at 7:00 AM, and the first thing on my list of things to do is to drink my muscle milk (basically liquid gold).  Then I drive my spacious whip (Lincoln LS) to the rink to start my training.  We train from about 8 AM to noon.  Next I grab lunch and go hang out at a friend’s house, since there is not much time before my next practice.  I go back to the rink at about 2 o’clock, and I pound my body into the ground until about 6 o’clock.  Then I drive home, cook some dinner, and chill out until its time for bed.  Pretty boring I’d say.

Hank:  It may be boring, but training hours like that is what it takes to be great.  Now Jeff, I know you used to skate inlines out of Las Vegas back in the day.  How much different is the training on ice and what can our inline community do to better themselves as far as training goes. 

Jeff:  Well, for all of us, skating is just a hobby.  It’s those who decide that they want to take it from just a hobby to the next level that need to make the commitment to training.  Being an elite level athlete is so much more than training hard, it’s a dedication.  It’s changing your life so that one can be the best and “shoot the rest.”  I’ve trained with the best coaches in the world, and we go above and beyond what every other country in the world is doing, so that we can be the best.  A lot of individuals think that this is just another “game.”  This sport is absolutely cutthroat.  What sport is harder than this?

Hank:  I don’t know if I can think of one.  What do you think makes speed skating so much harder than all other sports?
Jeff:  It’s a combination of everything.  Physically you have to be an animal.  To be able to go out and work out for 4 hours straight and then come back and do that again a couple hours later.  This is basically a year round sport.  Mentally, the stress of racing and training and the toll it takes on you is madness.  Everything in our sport is measured in fractions, and if you miss one fraction, the end result can be drastically off.  I’ve seen workouts where the best athletes in the world do not finish.  This is speed skating.  For another sport to be compared to ours is foolish. 

Hank:  And to think, our national team makes hardly any money.  So, tell me about your Olympic hopes for the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

Jeff:  I plan to go to the games and do the best that I can.  There is nothing else that I can do.  To be able to represent everybody that has supported me in front of the world would be the highlight of my career. 

Hank:  I’m sure you will get the chance.  Well, that wraps up the questions.  Good luck to you leading up to 2014.

Jeff:  Thanks pal, lets go get some sushi!

Jeff has been one of the most dominant short track athletes in the history of US and should be in the running for Olympic gold in 2014. 

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