Sara Dickson never had to teach her daughter how to ride a bike. Even as a young child, Amanda Trimble could just do things, she said.
Trimble, now 17, is just getting started—the local teen has a shot at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Trimble is living in Salt Lake City and training at the Salt Lake International Speedskating Academy. She is a short-track speed skater, and will compete in the Olympic Trials later this year.
“Before I did speed skating I played soccer. I ran cross-country. No sport has ever challenged me physically and mentally like speed skating,” Trimble said.
Trimble grew up in Bridgeville, where her father, Robert, still lives. Her mother, stepfather and siblings now live in Carnegie. Trimble began speed skating when she was 14, and said the sport came naturally given her other athletic experiences.
“I grew up with a dad that played hockey, and he used to always put me on the hockey rink with his team, so I learned to skate really, really, fast,” Trimble said. “Then my stepdad suggested speed skating, and I just fell in love with it.”
She’s accomplished a lot in her short career.
She competes nationally, and achieved Junior Category 1 Status—one of the highest speed skating rankings for someone her age—at the American Cup in Michigan earlier this year. Her time during that competition earned her an invitation to train for the Olympic trials.
Having a shot at the Olympics is “out of this world,” Trimble said, but the chance also means making personal sacrifices.
Trimble would be a senior at Carlynton Area High School, but on the road she takes courses through 21st Century Cyber Charter School. That, plus time away from home, means time away from friends.
Her days typically include six hours of training, on and off the ice. She often skates through injuries. Her diet is strictly balanced and cuts out all “fun foods.”
Ice time, coaching and equipment all come at a cost—speedskating boots and equipment cost around $1,600, Dickson said. Trimble travels alone because airline tickets are expensive, and that limits the number of times she comes home to visit.
But the hardest part, for mother and daughter both, is being away from home and apart from family.
“When she hit Salt Lake City and went through the adjustment there, part of me wanted to say, ‘Just come home,’” Dickson said. “She does want to be there. I’m so proud of her. Her heart is in this. We’re a close family and we miss her terribly.”
Trimble echoed her mother’s feelings.
“I’ve been living on my own since I was 15 to do this. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think, ‘If I were at home it would be so much easier,’” she said. “I am really blessed to have this opportunity and even though I wish I could be home with my friends and family, not everyone has this kind of opportunity and you have to take it.”
Dickson said her daughter has always done everything she said she wanted to do, and she believes Trimble will give her very best shot at an Olympic experience.
Trimble said for now, she’s just taking one day at a time, and she’s thankful for everything she has.“Through everything, I’ve really experienced a much different way to live my life,” Trimble said. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities and experiences that not many people have and I’m really grateful for that, and for everyone who helped me.”
Click here to donate to Trimble's GoFundMe campaign.