Photo Source: Dk_st
Name: Aaron Tran
Hometown: Federal Way, Washington.
Country: United States
Sport: Short Track Speed Skating
Years in the sport: 8 years
How did you get started skating?
I saw the 2006 Olympics in Torino and saw speed skaters racing and battling each other at insane speeds. I thought it was the coolest sport I have ever seen so I decided to start inline speed skating first (roller blades speed skating) then I eventually transitioned to ice as there is no Olympics for inline speed skating.
Goals for this year?
To medal on the international level individually.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I still see myself somewhat connected to the sport but I will start looking away from speed skating so I can progress my career in other areas.
What has been your biggest challenge as an athlete and how did you overcome it?
When I first got serious about speed skating and started pursuing it actively I struggled with transitioning fully to the lifestyle of an elite athlete which obviously requires effort at the rink and training facility but also requires a whole different lifestyle when you are at home which includes taking time to recover and sometimes stretch for over an hour if needed, taking time to eat right, getting enough sleep, and communicating everything you need and want with the staff so we can all work together.
The best advice that you have been given?
That in the long run, this journey that we are on is only worth it if we are also loving what we are doing. And it is easy to lose sight of that in the middle of the season or career.
If you were not an athlete, what would you be doing?
I would probably be almost done with college like most of my friends back from high school. And pursuing a degree in business or computer sciences probably.
Besides my love for competitive video games, I like to hang out with friends which sometimes is just going out to eat while recalling interesting stories or discussing random topics, playing random sports for fun, going to karaoke, etc. Just having a nice relaxing time with friends is a great hobby of mine. Which overlaps with gaming too since I get to keep in touch with my high school friends from Washington.
I pretty much like most pop kind of songs, but recently I have been enjoying some of the hits from the 2000’s more, some swing-y type of music (you can think of ‘Sunday Morning’), and I like listening to classical every now and then to feel classy while playing League of Legends.
What does a typical day of training look like?
I usually wake up around 7:30am. I hurry up and get ready and eat breakfast then go to the rink, which is about 7 minutes away from the house, all while still half-asleep. Then I proceed to do my normal morning warm-up, which wakes me up once I am about 80%~ done. We skate from 9am to 11am. Then we do off-ice training for about an hour before we get a couple hours break to eat and get ready for the second training session of the day which can be strength training or ice training again which will be about the same amount of time as the first half of the day. After all that I become a couch potato to recover so I can get the most out of the next training day.
Anything people be surprised to learn about you?
Nothing too special besides maybe my world percentile in League of Legends peaked at 0.2% of the world this ‘season’ and peaked at top 0.1% a couple years ago when I was super crazy about the game. Also, I like pineapples on my pizza which might be surprising and controversial to some pizza scholars.
What is the funniest thing has happened to you/others while training?
There are too many to count but a couple years ago I accidentally ‘kicked’ a squirrel during a team jog because it ran into my ankle. The squirrel made a miraculous recovery but my mental was left in a daze for a good couple minutes.
Any pre-competition rituals?
I always try to keep everything the same as when I am getting ready for practice back at home. The only difference would be that I have headphones in listening to the above-mentioned type of music.
Best movie and tv series?
Favourite food while training?I usually like eating sweets and bakery goods but since it is while training I can’t let myself get carried away. So I settle for some peanut butter crackers from the grocery store. Sweet. But not too sweet.
Results you’re most proud of?
The best result we got was a bronze medal at a World Cup in Germany two seasons ago. But I am still learning and growing and hoping that I will have multiple races in the future that I can walk away from and say “That was one of the best and most exciting races of my life”.
What inspires you?
To one day be renowned as one of the World’s greatest for Short Track Speed Skating.
What do you enjoy most about skating?
The fact that it isn’t a time trial and it isn’t just a race. It is closer to a battle. There are sometimes upwards to 6,7 or even 8 other skaters out on the track with you at once. The strongest skater doesn’t always win. The most strategic skater sometimes doesn’t even win either nor does the luckiest. But those are all key aspects required in the sport. You need to be able to react to oncoming passes and blocks and time your own moves perfectly to make it to the front and sometimes, even then, the person beside you might fall and take you down with him. The unpredictability of the sport is exciting. You need confidence, timing, speed, power, and luck to survive in the sport at the top level.
Advice that you have for someone starting out speed skating?
I would say the same thing for anything someone is actively trying to pursue. Make sure you are having fun with what you are doing. Once you enjoy the process and the sport itself. It will be easy to become absorbed in the sport/activity and strive to become better.
What is the most crucial part of your training?
There are so many different factors but you definitely need some mental fortitude to overcome the many hardships you will inevitably encounter.
Anyone you would like to thank?
I am grateful to all the family, cousins, friends, coaches, and teammates that have been part of this journey with me. Every one of them has helped me to get to this point in some way.