Former professional speed skater Tyler Goff, who made it to the 2010 Olympic trials, said going for the gold takes a lot of sacrifice, but his experiences have made the journey worth it.
Goff, now a paramedic for the Madison Fire Department, began skating when he was 2 years old and became interested in it because of his mother, a former speed skating Olympian. At the time, his mother was coaching Olympic gold medalist Casey FitzRandolph.
Goff said he mostly played around with the older skaters and when he was learning to skate, he would just push a chair around the rink.
When Goff was 4, he became interested in hockey and pursued that for seven years. When he was 11, Goff got back into speed skating and started to compete seriously.
Throughout his career in speed skating, he made four Junior World Teams and the World Cup team. He said he feels his greatest title awarded was when he was named Junior National Champion. Goff also made it to the Olympic speed skating trials in 2010.
Goff did a great deal of traveling throughout his time in speed skating. He said it was valuable for him to have the opportunity to see so much of the world and that traveling can provide valuable learning experiences.
“My greatest accomplishment wouldn’t be like a title or anything,” Goff said. “It would probably just be having the ability to travel the world.”
Goff said while being a professional athlete has many perks, it is more difficult than it appears. The biggest challenge for Goff was the time commitment.
While he was growing up in Madison, every day after school he had to travel to Milwaukee for practice. For almost five days a week, Goff and his mother spent three hours a day driving to and from Milwaukee, not including the practice time itself.
Goff said he also struggled with finances. Speed skaters do not get paid very much unless they are on a national team and the extra stress to make a team made him work even harder, he said.
At the 2010 Olympic trials, Goff’s career came to an end. While competing to go to Vancouver, Goff suffered an injury that took him out of the running.
“It was a good time to hang up the skates. My body was tired, and I think my mind needed a break too,” Goff said.
Goff said it was disappointing to get so close to his Olympic dreams only to fall short, but he took it as an opportunity to start a new dream. He said he is positive about his future as a MFD paramedic.