Houston speed skater hopes to bring Olympic gold home

Jonathan Garcia of the USA competes in the men 1000m during the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships - Gangneung - Test Event For Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Oval on February 11, 2017 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Jonathan Garcia of the USA competes in the men 1000m during the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships - Gangneung - Test Event For Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Oval on February 11, 2017 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)


HOUSTON (KXAN) — When an athlete is training for the Olympics, they need to stay focused on the task at hand.

For Houston speed skater Jonathan Garcia, he was left feeling hopeless when Hurricane Harvey came through and wreaked havoc on his hometown. Garcia is training for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah and going back to Texas wasn’t an option.

“It was pretty awful, you know, I just feel helpless. I was here, I couldn’t really do anything,” says Garcia. “I didn’t sleep very much for that entire week.” And we all know sleep is a big part of the training process.

With the Houston Astros taking home the World Series, Garcia, 31, hopes his speed skating will also bring hope to the city when the Winter Olympics in South Korea kicks off.

Garcia is laser-focused on his second Olympic run — his first was in 2014 in Sochi.

“Definitely fix some of the mistakes I had last go around in Sochi. I feel like I’ve really focused on that the last four years and trained my weaknesses but also kept up training on my strengths,” says Garcia, who started skating when he was 7 years old.

“Hopefully I’ve learned a few tactics to kind of calm myself down and realize, you know, how important it is, but at the same time it’s just skating, you know, and there’s a lot more to life than this.”

This month marks 10 years since Garcia moved from Houston to Utah to train for the Winter Olympics. He was inspired to start speed skating in 1994 when he saw Dan Jansen win gold.

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