As we get closer to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, it's a big weekend in Short Track Speedskating.
The U.S. Olympic trials are taking place in Utah and a local skater is one stride away from fulfilling a lifetime dream.
Short Track Speedskating is part speed, part precision, and part luck.
Casey Mullarkey loves every part of it. This 22-year old's Olympic dream started in Bay Village. It was on the ice, but as a hockey player.
Mullarkey was fascinated with speed skating after watching other kids whipping around in circles, telling himself that it looked like fun, and he should give it a try.
Thus, his love for the sport took off.
Casey spent countless hours practicing and competing at Winterhurst in Lakewood. Now, the pressure of pursuing Olympic gold is real.
"I've dropped out of school to help focus on skating, so there is a lot of pressure," Casey says. But you can't focus on the pressure and nerves you have to take the mix of both, good to have the pressure otherwise we wouldn't be where we are at if we couldn't handle it."
The St. Ignatius grad has made plenty of sacrifices along the way, but the payoff of making an Olympic team would be worth it.
"It's amazing, not much that matches it. I'm still young, it's a great honor, emotional when you get to represent your country. I haven't been to the games yet but it's a whole 'nother level," he says.
Mullarkey spends most of his time in Utah with the U.S. Speed Skating Team. If he's not out west training, he's traveling, competing all over the world.
When Casey gets homesick -- he has a couple of Cleveland friends to lean on -- Erin Bartlett from Lakewood and Lorain's Kelly Gunter.
"It's been great, one of them I call my cousin, a group of friends I've known over 10 years now and we travel together, friendships you build while training, not something you find in normal day to day life," Casey says. "It's a rare opportunity that you don't forget."
From a little kid skating at Winterhurst, to representing Northeast Ohio at the Olympics in South Korea. Now, that's something Casey Mullarkey will never forget.
The Short Track Speedskating Trials run through Sunday. Eight spots are up for grabs: 5 for the men and 3 for the women.