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Milwaukeean Achieves Olympic Dreams

Off the Cuff with Sugar Todd

Jan. 15, 2014
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Fifteen years ago, Sugar Todd dreamed of being an Olympic speed skater. Now 23, Todd’s childhood dream has come true. At this year’s Olympic Trials held at the Utah Olympic Oval, Todd qualified for the 2014 U.S. Speedskating Long Track Olympic Team and will compete in the 500- and 1000-meter races in Sochi, Russia. We connected with Todd to learn more about her speedskating background and her well-deserved accomplishment.


When did you decide that speedskating was a calling you wanted to pursue?

I started speedskating when I was eight years old because I saw a flyer for the Omaha Speedskating Club and decided it was something I wanted to try. Within a year of skating with the club in Omaha, my little single-digit-aged self harnessed some serious skills of persuasion and convinced my parents to move me to Milwaukee so I could train at the Pettit National Ice Center. All with the dream of one day competing at the Olympic Games.


What makes Milwaukee such a special city to you? Do you spend most of your time here in the training off-season?

Though I was born in Omaha, Nebraska, Milwaukee is home and I am proud to call it such. I love that Milwaukee has such a strong feeling of community while still maintaining status as a relatively large U.S. city. I am always bumping into people I know but I can still count on bands I want to see to make a tour stop here. I spend a significant amount of my off-season in Milwaukee, usually with friends as my parents have since relocated to warmer, retired climates.


You work at the Milwaukee Public Market’s Green Kitchen. Do you work there in the off-season and/or will you continue working there in the future?

I began working at Green Kitchen in the spring of 2010 and continued working until May, 2012, when I moved to Utah. I worked for several weeks this past April/May while home during my off-season. I think, in the future, it is definitely a possibility. I would love to call up Peter and Emily (the owners) at some point, asking to be put on the next schedule.


What is most exciting about the Olympics to you?

I get chills every time I hear the Olympic theme song. Earning the opportunity to represent my country on the world’s greatest sporting stage, with the spirit of the Olympic Games behind me, is what does it for me.


Can you describe the profound emotions you experienced when you qualified for the Olympic Team? 

Over the course of a few days I felt a spectrum of the most intense emotions of my life. I watched as friends and teammates just barely missed out on making the team. I cried for them and with them. Then I went on to cry tears of joy as I qualified for my first Olympic Team. The moment I crossed the finish line in my second 500 meter and looked up at my time, I knew I had secured the fourth and final spot. It was a complete release of happiness and I still haven’t wiped this goofy grin from my face. My teammate, Heather, snapped a photo of my dad and I afterwards that perfectly captures our emotion. My heart will always swell up looking at the pride and joy and tears in my dad’s face in that moment.


Any words of wisdom for young hopefuls gunning to become Olympic athletes?

Have fun and keep your chin up. There may be just as many bad days as there are good, but one of these days the good ones are going to be worth gold.


Follow Sugar Todd at facebook.com/TeamSugarTodd or on Twitter at @sugarmotion.


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