Corie Stoddard had dreamed about this moment before.
Crossing the finish line first, wrapping an American flag around her shoulders and skating a victory lap.
Last month, her dreams came to life as Stoddard became an inline speed skating Junior World Champion in the 10K elimination race. Stoddard won the title at the 2019 World Roller Games in Barcelona, Spain on July 10, finishing at 17:00:29, taking home the gold and her first world championship win.
“It was unbelievable, I actually thought I was dreaming,” she said. “I was so in shock and I couldn’t process it for like two days straight.”
Stoddard is a Pattison’s West-grown skater, following the strides of Federal Way speedskaters J.R. Celski, Apolo Ohno and Aaron Tran.
The competition at the World Games — her last chance at becoming a world champion in the juniors category — had a troubling start. In her first race, Stoddard neared a second-place finish when she fell during the final elimination lap of the race.
Some minor injuries and a negative mindset followed her into the rest of her races.
“On the third day, I went into like, ‘Ah well, I guess I’ll just give it my best shot and see what happens,’” she said. “And I ended up winning.”
From the World Roller Games, Stoddard also took home silver in the Junior Worlds 10K Points road race.
Pattison’s West Skating Center, a roller rink in Federal Way, gave Stoddard her first skating experience where she trained on the rink’s speed team under coach Darin Pattison. She began inline skating around the age of 8, she said, and at age 11, took a chance testing her skills on ice.
After a successful few years with Puget Sound Speed Skating Club, Stoddard was approached by Wilma Boomstra, head coach of the U.S. short track speed skating national team, and was asked to join the team.
At 18 years old, the South Sound local has earned international recognition and dozens of accolades for her speed skating accomplishments both inline and on ice. Stoddard has won three inline speed skating European Junior World Champion cups, is the Grand Champion in the National Speedskating Circuit, nabbed a fifth-place finish at the Junior World Championships for short track ice speed skating, and handfuls of other international championships for both inline and short track speed skating along the way.
“Becoming a Junior World Champion in sport is nearly an impossible feat,” said Miguel Jose, Stoddard’s coach and CEO of National Speedskating Circuit, the first professional indoor inline speed skating organization in the world.
When you mix that with a racing sport as dangerous as inline speed skating where one slip or crash can end your competition, he said, becoming a world champion is even more impossible.
To be the fastest on the course simply isn’t enough.
“You have to really know how to race, have the talent, the heart, and the drive. Corie has all of these things and more,” he said.
Stoddard’s name is one to remember for the upcoming winter Olympic Games, Jose said.
“I’ve never met an athlete who wants to win more and who is willing to go through an insanely gruesome training schedule to accomplish her goals.”
The ability to compete in both sports is a rarity, Stoddard said. She races in a multitude of inline events both on road and 200-meter banked tracks, including the 10K points elimination, 1000M, 10K elimination and 15K elimination, among others.
On ice, she races the 500M, 1000M, and 1,500M distances and claims her best is the 500M.
“I’m a sprinter on ice, but I’m a distance-endurance person on inline,” she said with a laugh. “It’s really weird.”
Inline skating requires more cardiovascular capacity, Stoddard explained, while ice skating demands more muscle endurance.
“Your legs burn more on ice and your chest burns more on inline.”
Stoddard is drawn to inline because of the racing aspect. For some races, the starting line could be packed with more than 30 racers, which means “it’s really physical and brutal.”
When she trades inline wheels for sharp blades, Stoddard said she enjoys the technical portion of short track speed skating on ice where precision and agility are key.
“I have to learn how to flip-flop each time,” she said about perfecting the techniques of each style. “It takes me a shorter time to get back into it each time.”
Inline skating season runs from March through July and ice season is August through February.
“It’s nonstop, [there’s] really no break,” she said.
Stoddard’s world win came after four months of training in Germany with speed skating coach Kalon Dobbin and the Arena Geisingen Team.
Earlier this August, she headed back to the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, to resume full-time training for the upcoming ice season.
Stoddard, entering her senior year, previously attended Decatur and Federal Way high schools before opting for online classes to better accommodate her year-round skating schedule.
When she’s back in Washington, her home rink is Pattison’s West in Federal Way.
While Stoddard hopes the inline sport will become a part of the Summer Olympics in the future, she has sights set on new goals: medaling in the next age category for inline, medaling in a world cup in short track and going to the Olympics in short track.
Stoddard is ranked No. 3 in the country for women in the Olympic short track speed skating; the winter Olympic will be held in the winter of 2021.
While her new world champion title has a nice ring to it, Stoddard said the win also brought a new-found confidence in herself.