Sydney Holmes is on her comeback tour.
“There was some time where we didn’t even know what it was,” Holmes said.
In her junior year at Green Bay Southwest, the speedskater had a decision to make.
“It was something inborn when I was a kid that was supposed to grow out, so it was just rubbing against the knees,” Holmes said.
Knowing the fact that surgery for both her knees would set her back a year on the ice, Holmes still went ahead and decided to have back-to-back knee surgeries.
“I got like fourth on one of my nationals distances and then I had to stop the rest of the meet because of how bad the pain was, but now it’s been so much better and this last year, I’ve been able to put my all into skating,” Holmes said.
Now Holmes is back and speedskating, as she wraps up her senior year of competition. Last month, she participated at the US Short Track Junior Championships at the Cornerstone Community Center. She also recently placed first in her age division at the Long Track Nationals in Roseville, MN.
It’s a comeback her mother and speedskating coach, Shannon Holmes, always knew would come.
“It’s hard to get back into competing and be competing against kids you were beating maybe a few years ago and all of sudden they’re quite a ways ahead of you, so it takes some determination and some patience to come back,” Shannon Holmes said. “She’s done a really good job.”
Holmes has been a short-track speedskater for the past 11 years, but decided to expand her skills to long track. She’s been training at long track for the past year thanks to some advice she got from her friend, Maame Biney, the first African-American female to qualify for a US Speedskating Olympic team.
“She told me I looked like a longtracker because I had really long legs and that’s kind of an attribute of long trackers sometimes, so this year I wanted to devote my time to long track because I knew there were some openings in there,” Holmes said.
With her groove back and the idea of pursuing long track next year in college, Holmes is dreaming big.
“It would be amazing to make a Junior World team,” Holmes said. “That’s always been a goal of mine and anything past there would be also awesome.”
And perhaps, maybe one day, the Olympics will come calling as well.