A man who grew up watching another Winnipegger compete in the Olympics will be following in her footsteps next month.
Tyson Langelaar learned on Monday that his childhood dreams are coming true: he is going to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
At seven years old, Langelaar watched fellow Winnipegger Cindy Klassen speed skate in the Olympics. After a decade and a half of training, he will be speed skating in the XXIV Olympic Winter Games.
"It kind of took me by surprise," Langelaar says when he got the news. "The first emotion I felt was relief, just by achieving that childhood dream. And then after that, it was just instant excitement. It was a rollercoaster of emotions."
Shortly after graduating high school, the Winnipegger moved to Calgary to train with the national speedskating team. Four years later, that hard work paid off when he got the news Monday that he be would be going to the Olympics next month to compete in long-track speed skating.
The first people Langelaar told were his parents in Winnipeg, who quickly put up a sign in their front yard congratulating the almost-23-year-old.
"It is always nice to have that hometown support," he says. "I am hoping to inspire a few young skaters in Winnipeg as well."
Like most Winnipeggers, Langelaar's first exposure to ice was by playing hockey. His parents put him in skating lessons, not knowing how that move would change his life.
"I just really fell in love with trying to skate fast and turning in circles. After seeing speed skating on tv one day I decided to give it a try."
Langelaar's passion for speed skating began after watching Klassen on television when he was seven years old and later watching the 2010 Vancouver Olympics solidified his choice. In three weeks, he has the chance to give other children that moment when his skates hit the ice in Beijing.
"The journey is not easy, that's for sure, but it is enjoyable at the same time. I think especially at that young age when you find a dream that you want, that you are dedicated and put some work towards it and make a few sacrifices along the way it is definitely achievable."
The skater's fastest speed is 60 km/h, faster than the speed limits on the residential streets in his hometown. The skater does not sugarcoat how much he prefers Calgary's indoor arenas to Winnipeg's outdoor rinks but does give the city props for the River Trail.