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Olympian Sugar Todd Looks Ahead to Next Race and Life's Next Phase

Quinn Rooney
Getty Images
Sugar Todd of the United States competes during the Women's 500m Race 1 of 2 Speed Skating event during day 4 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Adler Arena Skating Center on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

A few weeks ago, US Speedskating's director, Ted Morris, spoke with Lake Effectwhile he was in town for the US National Longtrack Championships held at the Pettit National Ice Center.

Morris mentioned one particular athlete to look out for that weekend, and in the years to come. "One of the people that's made a lot of progress this year is Sugar Todd on the women's side," he said.

Credit Mitch Teich
Sugar Todd, on a break from racing at Milwaukee's Pettit National Ice Center.

"Her 500 and her 1000 has been incredibly impressive and she's now broken into that top ten in the world category," Morris added. "And what we try and really focus on is getting athletes into that top eight, top ten. If they're in that group, they really have a chance, so that's really the key number for us so we really like the progress she's made."

And that weekend, Sugar Todd didn’t disappoint – winning silver medals in the 500 and 1000 meter races.  But that probably doesn’t surprise anyone who saw her basically grow up at the Pettit. 

Todd moved from Omaha, Nebraska, to Milwaukee at age 9 in order to train at the Pettit's long track.

Immediately smitten with long track skating, Todd didn't stop training and grew into an Olympic athlete - competing at the Sochi Winter Olympics two years ago.

"Being able to race at the Olympics and see my parents in the stand was...that was kind of it," says Todd.

Todd has been training in Utah, but was very happy to return to Milwaukee where the Pettit was her second home. Todd won second in the 1000 meter race at the US National Longtrack Championships, and she said she is very happy with this season.

"This season has kind of been a push forward for me - things have started coming together."

Speedskating has been the driving force behind Todd's life for as long as she can remember, but she also tries to a maintain balance. "I try to strike a pretty strong balance between training really hard and being focused, but at the end of the day being able to go home and still have other interests," she says.

Lately, those interests have taken her from the arctic chill of an ice arena to a hot oven.  Todd has been working to perfect her recipe for almond hazelnut biscotti.  "Really, it started because I was at home one day, and I was, like, 'I want some biscotti to eat. I'll make some'," she says. "I've always baked things for my teammates, so I was like, 'Maybe I should try to sell these to support my speedskating career'."

And while racing is still her primary interest, her culinary skills give her a glimpse of what life could be like after her competitive career is over.  "I'm very determined, and I'm very happy to be speedskating, and to have dedicated - basically - my entire life to it," the Wauwatosa East graduate says, "but I'm also very excited for the day I'm done and I finally move on to something else - and where there's an ice facility won't dictate where I have to live."

But Sugar Todd has no intention of slowing down yet. Next week she's scheduled to compete in Russia at the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships as a part of the US National team.

Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.