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Marsicano returns to give back

January 23, 2020
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Over 15 years ago, a promising young short track speed skater named Trevor Marsicano started training for long track on the Lake Placid Olympic Speed Skating Oval, hoping to train in both styles of skating. He would go on to skating glory in long track, winning a World title and an Olympic silver medal, and the skater from Ballston Spa never strayed too far from Lake Placid.

Much to the delight of club members, Marsicano has taken time out of his busy schedule to once again coach for the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club this season for the first time since 2017.

"Lake Placid is where I was exposed to long track speed skating. Without the Olympic Oval and ice every weekend, I don't know if I would have pursued that," he said. "It is now a place that I can go to get back to the basics of what I enjoy while being able to experience the attractions of Lake Placid that I wasn't able to before."

Article Photos

Trevor Marsicano stands outside the 400-meter oval in Lake Placid where he first pursued long track speed skating. 
Provided photo — Christie Sausa

Marsicano first blazed into skating history when he became the youngest skater to win gold in the 1,000-meter race at the 2009 World Single Distance Championships, also winning three other medals at the same event. His 1,000-meter title was historic in another way; he was the first to break the 1:07 barrier. Although that record would be broken again by US skater Shani Davis, Marsicano was still the first, holding the world record for about 20 minutes.

At age 19, Marsicano was proving his talent on the world stage, and the handsome young man rapidly became a media sensation, modeling in magazines like GQ and being touted as the next great speed skating legend.

At the 2010 Olympics, he further succeeded by winning silver with the rest of Team USA in the team pursuit event.

Although Marsicano had to move to indoor training facilities - first Salt Lake City, Utah, and then to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to train with the team -he still considers Lake Placid a "second home."

"I loved competing on the World Cup circuit, but there is something about skating outside with people who love the sport as much as I do," Marsicano said. "It is nice to be able to give back to the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club after all that the club has given me."

Marsicano first became attached to the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club in 2009, when he was awarded honorary membership as a goodwill gesture and in remembrance of his frequent weekend trips to the Oval. Although primarily a member of the Saratoga Winter Club at that time, he still assisted LPSSC as an honorary member, attending Olympic Day events and occasionally awarding medals at Club meets when he was home visiting family in between competitions and training.

For a time after the 2014 season, he took a hiatus, returning home to start the process of transitioning from international sports star to average adult. He started working and attending college, the latter of which he was too busy for while he was training, but the ice kept calling.

Marsicano made the decision to try for another Olympic team. He made Lake Placid his training base during the 2016-2017 season, competing in all Lake Placid Speed Skating Club meets and other events including the Empire State Winter Games, and moved back to Milwaukee to train in the 2017-2018 season. Although he didn't make the U.S. team, Marsicano said he valued the experience.

"The original intent of attempting to earn a spot on the 2018 Olympic team was to get to experience what I love to do one last time regardless of the result," he said. "I was reminded of what is important to me and to let the little frustrations of life go. Usually what seems like a mountain of a problem at the time is not. You'll look back one day and think, 'Why did I let that bother me into ruining my experience?'"

He carried this problem-solving attitude with him into his next adventure, finding a career after skating. He worked as a Direct Support Professional at a health care residence with many individuals including those with developmental disabilities, an experience which informed his decision to pursue nursing.

"Helping these individuals while performing very basic medical needs for them, I felt that was a direction I wanted to go in," Marsicano said. "As an Olympian, we learn how to take care of our own bodies and injuries. From that experience, I am able to apply that knowledge through the nursing process."

So he enrolled in the nursing program at SUNY Adirondack Community College, where he is currently in his second semester of the program. Fortunately for the sport of speed skating, Marsicano's love of caring for others and his interest in giving back extends further than his career choice.

Despite his busy schedule, Marsicano still expects to be coaching Lake Placid Speed Skating Club members throughout the rest of the winter season, every weekend. The club continues to grow rapidly as word of his coaching spreads, and mostly masters skaters (those over 30) have joined to polish their speed skating technique.

Marsicano brings an approachable, easy-to-understand coaching style and a sense of humor and patience to the lesson times. Most of all, he stresses that his approach to success in skating and life is based on doing the best you can with what you have.

"With technology being an integrated part of most training programs, we are lulled into thinking that we need all this assistance to become great athletes, but I grew up with a heart rate monitor, a road bike and my skates," he said. "As long as you have the basics, you can become a great athlete or whatever it is that you enjoy doing. All you need are a few positive people in your life to make it happen."

Marsicano has also been volunteering as part of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club competition team, helping wherever needed (including a memorable marathon skating weekend in which he mostly helped the referee keep the lanes clear of snow), and is currently training to be an official starter. The adjustment from being the athlete for whom the meet is being prepared for to an integral part of the behind-the-scenes development was easy for him.

"From a young age, I've enjoyed working behind the scenes in production. Going along with all of that, I enjoy working behind the scenes of a skating competition too. Thinking of all the volunteers, officials, starters and all levels of personnel that go into making a competition a success, I am happy to give back to the sport," he said. "Plus, it's just fun being on the track with skaters who could be making future World Cup teams and eventually Olympic teams as well."

Being in Lake Placid frequently also affords Marsicano the opportunity to reminisce about skating through tough weather and/or ice conditions and visiting the Downtown Diner with his teammates to enjoy the Adirondack Breakfast, a tradition he continues. But he also hopes to enjoy the parts of Lake Placid that he missed when he was so focused on training.

"I enjoy hiking, kayaking, fishing and anything that involves being outside, and also love winter sports and activities like winter camping despite people telling me that I am crazy for those interests," he said. "Now that I am not skating competitively, I am hoping to create more memories of the surrounding area through hikes and skating on the local lakes like the Cascades."

Like many other Olympians in the area, Marsicano is especially excited to be in Lake Placid during the 40th anniversary year of the Olympic Games, and hopes to be present for at least some of the events Feb. 13-24.

"After watching the movie Miracle the other day, it hit me that that hockey game happened right across the street from the oval. I am for sure excited about the anniversary and plan to participate in the festivities," he said.

While deeply focused on school, Marsicano has had to put his own skating and other pastimes on the back burner to a degree, but he remains positive and focused on doing his best day by day.

"To be honest, the goal is to get through school right now while being open to opportunities that may come my way. Being open to new and different opportunities is what led me to speed skating."

For more information on the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club, visit their website at www.lakeplacidspeed.com.

 
 
 

 

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