(NEXSTAR) — Athletes spend years chasing the Olympic dream. But not everyone gets there.
In this week’s Journey to Beijing, Nexstar’s Jack Doles has the story of a speedskater who is trying to avoid that fate.
For Brett Perry, the Journey to Beijing has been a long and difficult road.
“It’s a cutthroat sport. And if you don’t succeed, you don’t get anything for it.” Perry said.
Yet, he’s been speedskating since he was 9 years old.
“It’s different, you know. Unlike high school, where you have football and basketball, everyone does that. Not a lot of people do speedskating. It was a great opportunity to be really good at something,” Perry said.
Perry started out as a short-track racer, hoping to be the next Apolo Ohno.
“Back in 2002, he was the top guy. Big inspiration,” he said.
Eventually, he made the switch to long-track. Four years ago, he just missed making the U.S. Olympic team, when he finished fourth at the Olympic Trials.
Since then, he’s been a member of the U.S. National team, wearing the uniform is the honor of a lifetime.
“It’s a big motivator. Wearing them in the world cups, it was a smidgeon of what it would be like. Wearing them in the Olympics would be awesome. I can’t even imagine,” Perry said.
For Perry, the Beijing Games will likely be his last shot. He recently got married to Stephanie. Their dog, Maggie, was the ring bearer.
“We tied it to her collar. We thought it would be a cute idea,” he said.
With more than himself to support, Brett appears ready to hang up the skates and move on to the next chapter. But right now, his focus is the Olympic Trials in January.
“Speedskating is very important to me. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, two-thirds of my life. After skating, it’s going to feel weird not doing that. It’s my life. And I’ll lose something when I’m done,” Perry said.
The Olympic trials for long-track speedskating start January 5 in Milwaukee.