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MANILA, Philippines – Out of his comfort zone, Peter Groseclose hopes to keep in step with the rest of the field as he opens the Philippines’ campaign in the Winter Youth Olympics in Gangwon, South Korea.
Groseclose will be the first to compete out of the Philippines’ three representatives in the Games, seeing action in the boys’ 1,500m category of short track speed skating at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Saturday, January 20.
“To be honest, it is my weakest distance, but I’m not bad at it,” said the 16-year-old Filipino-American. “I’m more of a sprinter and this is more of an endurance race.”
“But I will do my best and I can be competitive in it.”
Groseclose, who traces his Philippine roots to his Filipina mother Victoria, will go up against foes from 33 other nations, including title favorites Joo Jae-hee and Kim Yu-seong of host South Korea.
As daunting as the task may be, Groseclose relishes the rare opportunity of competing in the quadrennial meet for teen athletes.
“These Youth Olympics happen once in a lifetime, they happen every four years, and I’m glad to have this opportunity to get an experience and be part of this event,” he said.
Coached by former world champion Simon Cho in the United States, Groseclose is being mentored in the Games by John-Henry Krueger, another bemedalled speed skater.
Krueger won silver in the men’s 1,000m event of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics for the United States and bagged bronze in the 2,000m mixed relay of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games as a naturalized athlete for Hungary.
“Short track is very unpredictable. So as a coach, I want him to focus on every race just one at a time and not thinking too far down the road,” said Krueger.
Groseclose will also participate in the boys’ 1,000m on Sunday, January 21, and 500m on Monday, January 22.
Other athletes who will don the national colors in the fourth edition of the Winter Youth Olympics are freestyle skier Laetaz Amihan Rabe and cross country skier Avery Balbanida.
Rabe served as the Philippines’ flag bearer in opening ceremony on Friday, while Balbanida will arrive in Gangwon on January 25. – Rappler.com