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“Even before he was born, Thomas Hong was destined to be part of the speed skating world. His older sister, Stephanie, would encourage Thomas to walk around the house in her skates. After immigrating to the US from Seoul, South Korea with his grandmother, mother, and sister at the age of 5 he started to explore the ice. His summers were spent traveling back to Seoul to visit his father and train at local speed skating camps. A growth spurt during his early teens made it difficult to maintain the low tuck position but ultimately didn't derail him from his passion for the sport.
SPORT: Speed Skating Short Track
HOMETOWN: Laurel, MD
OLYMPIC MEDALS: 2018 Olympic Hopeful
OTHER TITLES/NOTABLE WINS: 2World Championship Experience. 2017 World Junior Championships – 500m Silver medal; 3000m relay Bronze medal; 4th overall. 2014-15 World Junior Championships - 3000m relay 11th; overall 17th. 2013-14 World Junior Championships - overall 7th; 3000m relay 8th overall. 2012-13 World Junior Championships - 3000m relay 4th overall. Other Career Highlights. 2016-17 Short Track National Team. 2016-17 Short Track Fall World Cup Team. 2014 Olympic Trials - 11th overall; youngest competitor. 6x Age Group National Champion
In 2015, Hong competed in the 5,000-meter relay as the youngest of the six-member team to represent the United States at the International Skating Union Short Track World Cups. Until late 2016, the majority of his training was with the Potomac Speedskating Club in Maryland unlike most professional competitors who train at the Utah Olympic Oval or the Academy of Skating Excellence. Hong has since transitioned to training in Utah as he works towards a spot on the 2018 Winter Olympics Speed skating team. Making the team would also mean a return to his homeland, South Korea, to compete in one of the nation’s most popular sports.
Thomas' work ethic has been one of his greatest assets while he works to juggle a strenuous training schedule. Daily routines can include 90 minutes of running and strength conditioning in combination with 90 minutes on the ice. While training is intense, he credits it for having allowed him to travel the world and skate with his idols like J.R. Celski.