Q&A with Heather Bergsma
How influential were your parents in your athletic career and in what ways?
My parents were very influential. They both grew up speed skating on quads and did artistic skating, so I grew up always at a skating rink.
Do you have any pets?
I have a 3-year-old Japanese Spitz named Yuki.
In your hometown of High Point, North Carolina, what are your favorite spots to relax, eat out, etc.?
Archdale Family Fitness
De Been Coffee
Pure Light Yoga
Full Moon Oyster Bar
What time do you wake up? How much, and when, do you sleep each day during training?
Mostly 7:00 am. I feel my best when I get at least 9 hours of sleep so I try to go to bed by 10, and on days that I have the time I like to take a one hour nap after lunch.
How much time do you spend training each day?
It depends on the season. In the summer we put in a lot more hours than during the actual season.
What’s your typical training day/schedule?
Summer training we do a lot of jogging, weights, inlining and cycling. During the season we mostly cycle and skate on the ice.
How do you work to achieve your daily goals?
Push myself and give everything at training so I have no excuses.
What’s the most grueling work out you’ve ever done?
Biking the Stelvio for sure.
What is your earliest memory of doing or seeing skating?
The earliest memory that I love is my first inline meet in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I just remember it also felt like a family vacation because my family used to go there once a year together, and I got to compete for the first time with everyone there. I liked all the support and loved skating
What's your earliest or favorite memory of watching the Olympics?
I remember watching the Salt Lake Games because there were so many inliners that had made the transition to ice and were competing. I thought it was amazing to see, but at the time I was still hoping inline would land a spot at the Olympics.
Was there a specific “breakthough” moment/competition when you finally realized you could compete in your sport at a high enough level to reach the Olympics?
After moving to Salt Lake in 2007 and qualifying that same year for the World Cup circuit I knew my goal was to be on the 2010 team.
What's something cool, weird intense about your sport that people don't normally see? What’s the hardest part of your sport?
To me the hardest part of speed skating is that so much comes from feeling.
Who is your coach? How long have you been working together and what’s your relationship like?
My coach is Jillert Anema. I have been working with him for 3 years now. It's a good combination, he is a great coach and if I ever am questioning anything he always gives a response of why it’s been done or how the planning is gonna work out.
Have you ever worked with a sports psychologist? If so, how did it help you?
I have and I think it was great for my mental training or toughness.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
You have nothing to lose only something to gain.
What advice would you give to a young child just starting out in speed skating?
Always have fun.
Who is your biggest rival? Is it friendly or contentious?
Brittany Bowe and it's definitely friendly. We bring out the best in each other.
What was the best part of living in the Athletes’ Village during the Games?
I love that there are plenty of places to be social, but also it allows you to kind of shut things out and focus if you need to as well.
How and where do you train over the summer?
I live in the Netherlands now so I train there.
What are your pre-competition rituals?
Skates sharpening and relax.
Do you have a lucky charm you can’t compete without?
If my Chapstick counts then yes.
Do you speak any languages other than English?
Dutch. I wouldn't say I'm fluent yet I understand a lot better than I speak. I took lessons over Skype.
Do you have any tattoos?
I have “hope” on my side written in a purple ribbon for my grandma that passed away with Hodgkin lymphoma, I have two fish on my feet for a Pisces, I have family written on my wrist, and I also have the letter H and J together on my ring finger.
What are your favorite TV shows?
Boer Zoekt Vrouw
What are your personal care indulgences?
I love massages even though I don’t have them so often.
Outside of training for your sport, what physical routine makes you feel your best?
Waking up and taking the dog out for a walk
Have you ever done karaoke?
What will success look like for you in PyeongChang? What are your goals?
I just want to be at my best.
Will you head home for the holidays prior to the Games? What do you most look forward to? If not, where will you celebrate and with whom?
I don't know my schedule exactly but I will not be in North Carolina with my family. I will either be training in Milwaukee or be in the Netherlands.