Li speed skates his way to victory at national championship 

Sophomore+Jaylin+Li+won+a+speed+skating+National+Championship+on+Sept.+19.

Joe Lamburn

Sophomore Jaylin Li won a speed skating National Championship on Sept. 19.

Grace Bouzan, Staff Writer

Covering 26.1 miles in just over an hour, sophomore Jaylin Li won a national speed skating championship in September. 

Li’s father, who was a skater himself, began teaching Li to skate when he was just 5 years old. Li is a national champion who competes in inline skating, speed skating, and long distance skating.

Li competes in both marathons (26.1 miles) and half-marathons (13.1 miles) around the skating rink. At age 9, he won his first half-marathon, and at age 11, he won his second. He won his first inline National Championship on Sept. 19 in Duluth, Minnesota. This year, he skated his personal best, completing a marathon at the Championships in 71 minutes.

 “This [National Championship] was the first time I won a full marathon at a junior age,” Li said. “[It] felt pretty exciting. It’s the first time winning a full marathon in my age group. It’s also nothing new since I already won two half-marathons at a younger age.

Li says his training process, which includes a lot of running, is different compared to other speed skaters. 

“Week for week you go [running] long distances,” Li said.”For me, I do hill workouts at Algonquin. I run up the big hill and back down about 10 to 15 times and about four to five times per week.”

Technique is a big part of skating. If you don’t get the technique right, you basically waste a lot of energy and necessary speed.”

— Jaylin Li, sophomore

Li said one of the hardest things about skating is perfecting technique, which affects overall performance in skating. 

“Technique is a big part of skating,” Li said. “If you don’t get the technique right, you basically waste a lot of energy and necessary speed.”  

Li’s father, Shu Li, taught him the most important techniques in order to succeed in skating. 

“At an early age, he taught me all the techniques I needed to know: enforcing my technique and increasing my endurance,” Li said. “For example, make sure knees are curved in, your back is flat, gaging your core, reducing as much air as possible, while also conserving or saving energy to make it through the whole marathon or race.” 

According to Li, he has certainly faced challenges, especially when he thought the soreness was too much for him, and he wanted to leave the team. However, his dad was there to support him and encourage him to continue speed skating.  

“There was a moment in my career where I wanted to quit because it was so painful,” Li said .“I told my dad I wanted to quit and he replied, ‘Are you sure you want to quit?and I said, ‘Yeah.But then he never let me quit… Same goes with my friend [sophomore] Sitan Zhan too.”

Even though he just won a full marathon, Li is not done yet: he will continue to train and never quit.

“If you make a cut, you might lose the race,” Zhan said. “If you’re too lazy to train, it might cost you the game.”