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Heather Bergsma

Heather Bergsma
Speed Skating USA

Heather Bergsma

Heather Bergsma
  • Birth date 3/20/1989
  • Birthplace High Point, NC
  • Hometown High Point, NC
  • Residence Aldeboarn, Netherlands
  • Height/Weight 5'8"/ 154 lbs
  • Olympics 2010, 2014

Biography

Early in her speed skating career, Heather Bergsma transformed from “Bambi on ice” to an Olympic speed skater—and in 2018, she’ll hope to remake herself again from a skater who struggled in Sochi to one who dominates in PyeongChang. Bergsma, who previously competed under her maiden name, Richardson, started on inline skates at nine years old. She switched to speed skating in her late teens, but she wasn’t a natural on the ice. When her first speed skating coach saw her try to skate, he described her straight legs and stiff posture as reminiscent of the famous Disney deer. Bergsma quickly adjusted, and three years later made her Olympic debut at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Then 20 years old, Bergsma competed in three events with a best finish of 6th in the 500m. In the four years between Vancouver and Sochi, Bergsma broke through to claim her first world championship medals, two overall World Cup titles in the 1000m and an American record in the 500m. She also started dating the Netherlands’ Jorrit Bergsma, a fellow speed skater who won two Olympic medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

But Sochi wasn't a success for Bergsma—like the rest of the U.S. speed skaters, she struggled to replicate her winning results from earlier in the season. Her best finish was sixth in the team pursuit. Bergsma married Jorrit in 2015 and moved to the Netherlands to live with him in the speed skating a small down outside the speed skating hotbed of Heerenveen. Training with the Dutch team, Bergsma grew increasingly dominant in her two best distances, the 1000m and 1500m. She capped off the 2016-2017 season by winning three medals at the 2017 World Championships, which were held at the same South Korean venue that will be used for the PyeongChang Olympics. In addition to gold medals in the 1000m and 1500m, Bergsma claimed a bronze in the mass start, an event that will be contested at the Olympics for the first time in 2018. Bergsma also earned three World Cup titles in 2017: overall, 1500m and 1000m. She went undefeated in the 1000m over the 2016-17 World Cup season.
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Getting to know Heather Bergsma

1

World record holder in 1500m and American record holder in 500m

2

Raced against her husband on a Dutch TV show called “Battle of the Sexes”

3

Could be first U.S. female speed skater since 2002 to win an Olympic medal

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