MARQUETTE, Mich. –United States Olympic Education Center administrative staff unanimously selected short track speedskater Kimberly Derrick of downstate Caledonia as the 2005-06 athlete of the year. Derrick was also U.S. Speedskating’s honoree for athlete of the fall 2005 semester.
Derrick made her Olympic debut at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, last February, skating as an individual in the 1000 meters and participating in the 3000m relay. She earned a position on the Olympic Team after finishing third at the 2006 U.S. Short Track Championships in Marquette last December, where she set three personal best times.
“I’ve been at the USOEC for 21 years and witnessed 11 Olympics,” said USOEC director Jeff Kleinschmidt. “I’ve never been more excited to see an athlete perform at the Games like I was for Kimberly.
“She had such a gutsy performance following her grandfather’s passing. The courage she showed at that moment literally gave me goose bumps. She offered all of us a personal glimpse of the true Olympic spirit.”
In addition to representing the United States as an Olympic Team member, Derrick secured a spot on the 2006 World Team. She competed at the 2006 World Short Track Championships last March in Minneapolis, Minn., where she was chosen as one of two American female skaters to participate in each individual distance and in the relay.
Derrick also earned a position on the 2005-06 World Cup Team, skating in world cup competitions in China, Korea, Italy and the Netherlands last fall.
“Kimberly has only been skating on ice for four years,” said USOEC assistant speedskating coach Tricia Stennes, who nominated Derrick for the award. “Part of her talent and competitiveness comes from her inline background. She works incredibly hard and gets along with everyone.”
Twenty-one-year-old Derrick is entering her fourth year as a resident athlete at the USOEC. She’s a sophomore at Northern Michigan University where she studies elementary education.
Contact the USOEC Office at 906-227-2888 for more information. Prepared by Julee Basal.