Sunday, January 12, 2014

St. Louisan Matt Plummer turns the page on Olympic dream unfulfilled

The flip side to the joy experienced by St. Louis University High grad Pat Meek is as close as our own backyard. While Meek is packing his bags to compete in the 5,000 meters in long track speedskating in Sochi, St. Louis native Matt Plummer is packing his bags to head home.

Plummer, a graduate of Chaminade, came up short for the second time in his attempt to qualify for the Olympics. Plummer is a sprinter on the long track and finished sixth in the 500 meters, one place shy of qualifying. Amy Donaldson of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City profiled the end of Plummer's career in a poignant story that's a must read for anyone who knew him. Or didn't. The media focuses at this time in the Olympic cycle on the few who advance their dreams. Far more competitors decide after an Olympic Trial to say goodbye to their childhood dreams.

Here's the short version of Matt's story: He began his skating career here, training in short track with the coaches who have launched the careers of more than a dozen Olympians. After graduating from Chaminade in 2006, Plummer moved to Salt Lake City to follow his dreams. He made the junior team in short order and seemed on target to make an Olympic team. But he just missed in 2010, skating the best of his life, and again this year. The difference this time around is that he thought he could have skated better.

By the time the next Olympics rolls around, Plummer will be 30, past the prime of  skaters.

He provided one terrific moment, which captures his joy, passion and love of skating in a personal way. Back in 2009, Plummer set the world record for skating 500 meters backwards. We thought it was the perfect time to share the link, as a fitting look back and salute to Plummer for following his dream.