Taylor Wentz has Olympic dreams, but she’s realistic about her chances at qualifying for the 2018 Winter Games.
The 25-year-old Columbus East graduate will compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Short Track speedskating events today through Sunday at the Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, Utah. The top three women in combined points from the three events will qualify for the Olympics, which will be Feb. 5 to 18 in South Korea.
“Short track is kind of unpredictable, so you never know,” Wentz said. “I don’t have any pressure on me to make the team, so my goal is to go out every race and race hard. I was more nervous just to qualify for Trials, especially since I missed it last time. Now that I accomplished my goal, I just want to go out and race hard and have fun and see what happens.”
The 16 women who qualified for the Trials will compete in all three events. The 1,500-meter semifinals and final will be today. Heats, semis and final in the 500 will be Saturday; and heats, semis and final in the 1,000 will be Sunday.
The men’s and women’s 1,500 will be televised live on NBCSN at 8:30 p.m. today. The men’s and women’s 1,000 will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Wentz said unless she does really well and thinks there might be a chance for her to make a World Cup team, this likely will be the end of her skating career. She married retired speedskater Michael Burdekin in September 2016 and is looking to move back to Columbus.
“I’m trying to move on to real-life things,” Wentz said. “I’d like to be closer to my family.”
Wentz, who was a figure skater from age 2 through high school before taking up speedskating, currently coaches figure skating and some speedskating at the Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City. She hopes to be able to do the same in Columbus.
On Tuesday morning, Wentz had what may have been her final weight training session as a competitive speedskater.
“It was pretty sad at the end,” Wentz said. “I was crying. It was bittersweet. But I know I’m still going to be around the sport, so it won’t be too sad.”
Name: Taylor Wentz
High school: Columbus East
Residence: Salt Lake City, Utah
Family: Husband Michael Burdekin