MILWAUKEE - A Waukesha native, Mitch Whitmore grew up just minutes away from the Pettit Center. It's the place that would lead him on a journey to his third Olympics as a speed skater for Team USA.
"Before I even started speed skating, I always watched the Olympics. My parents would see me just parked right in front watching every event, didn't matter what it was. To make my first team was such a special experience and each one after that has been even better," Whitmore said.
Hosting the Olympics trials in Milwaukee, Whitmore was able to qualify for both the 500 and 1,000 meter races, on the same ice he used to prep for other Olympic hopefuls.
"So I drove the Zamboni when I first turned 18. I was actually working here. You know, I learned a lot about the ice and how to make it better," Whitmore said.
Despite a lackluster 2014 games, and still on the hunt to reach the Olympic podium himself, redemption is not a work Whitmore would use.
"We've been asked that a lot about redemption and I would say not really. We've had so many competitions since then, big competitions. We have a World Championship competition each season and to us that's just about the same level as the Olympics. I would say we look at it year to year. A goal is medal, to medal in the 500 and do as well as I can in the 1,000 and you never know if I'm skating really well that might be a medal to," Whitmore said.
Whitmore will go for gold in the 500 meter race on Feb. 19, and than the 1,000 meter race on Feb. 23.