Perhaps the Swider-Peltz kids were born to be Olympians.
There is a photo showing Nancy, Jr. as a baby with her mother, Nancy Sr., visiting then-President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Nancy Sr. is a four-time speedskating Olympian who thought of unique ways to inspire her kids, like putting up motivational quotes on the shower tiles of their Wheaton, Illinois home.
Nancy Sr. now coaches her daughter and son, doing everything from on ice workouts to interactive forms of strength and recovery like walking on their backs. Nancy Jr and her brother, Jeffrey, live and train together but have something else in common: They're both artists in different mediums.
“Recently, I've been getting orders for monogrammed pieces of wood with names and established by dates, this is one of them, I kind of went for a gothic type look,” said Nancy Swider-Peltz, Jr., holding up a piece of wood where she has burned in a design with a family’s name.
“I have long hair and I wanted a bandana that wasn't paisley so I said I could do a cool design,” said Jeffrey Swider-Peltz, showing a bandana he designed. “I've made a spin on the logo from the Mexico Olympics in 1968. These really raw bandanas, they're an ode to the speedskating oval.”
He has also screen-printed his own USA design on sweatshirts.
“That artsy side in our family comes from my grandfather and my dad,” said Nancy.
“I studied art in college for undergrad. I think of speedskating as an art,” said Jeffrey. “Art is good because it's relaxing. You need to be involved in other things besides competing because especially at the Olympic level, it's stressful.”
One of Nancy's greatest lessons came when an art teacher made her ruin a picture deliberately, then create something new from the mess.
“That applies to skating, you make mistakes all the time, I've really struggled lately but you keep positive and work through it and there's a greater story at the end,” Nancy said.
The two are still crafting their skating stories. Each will be competing at the Olympic Trials at the Pettit Center in January. After that, they hope to grow their respective art businesses.