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Hockey player from Ann Arbor to compete as speed skater in Winter Olympics

Ryan Pivirotto found sport niche after decade of hockey

Most people know the sport of speed skating, skaters racing against the clock, trying to get the best time. But short-track speed skating is different. It's in the name. The track is shorter, but also you're racing against each other over a series of rounds. And things can get hairy sometimes.

Most people know the sport of speed skating -- skaters racing against the clock, trying to get the best time.

But short-track speed skating is different. It’s in the name.

The track is shorter, but also you’re racing against each other over a series of rounds. And things can get hairy sometimes.

“Anything can happen to anyone in the race,” skater Ryan Pivirotto said.

Read: Metro Detroiters gearing up for winter Olympics

Pivirotto played hockey for ten years, starting out in Metro Detroit. He took his first steps on the ice in Ann Arbor before his family eventually moved. Pivirotto says it was in Connecticut when he made the change in sport, but he still stayed on the ice.

“I found a club in Connecticut where I started skating,” Pivirotto said. “The rest is history.”

A year in, after seeing positive results, Pivirotto knew he had found his niche and dove in. He traveled to South Korea to train for the 2018 Olympic games.

Pivirotto ended up going to Pyeongchang as an alternate skater. This time around, at the 2022 Winter Olympics, he has qualified and will compete in the 1000 meter, 1500 meter, 500 meter and the mixed relay -- events he ranks in the top 35 for in all distances.

“Going back with secured spots and going back to race individually, it’s a different feeling,” Pivirotto said. “I can’t describe it well. I’m really happy how I performed at the race. Can’t wait to race at the highest stage.”

Even though his family can’t travel to watch him due to COVID rules, Pivirotto plans to bring something home to show them.

“Medals would be very nice,” Pivirotto said. “I think everyone is going there to win a medal.”

Pivirotto has set up a GoFundMeo account to help pay for his Olympic journey.


About the Author:

Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.