Liam Ortega, Alaskan grown, Marquette University graduate, National Champion and American Cup Champion speedskater. Training hard to become the first Alaskan named to the U.S. Olympic speedskating in 2014.
A terrifying on-ice crash happened a year before the 2010 Olympic trials. The crash left Liam in a coma on life support and ICU for a week. The road to recovery was a long one, but this insurmountable adversity turned into a speed bump with the fire it lit within him.
Liam began to dream of the Olympics when he first started skating (hockey) at 7. Raised by his mother in Alaska, she wanted him to “have fun and learn to skate.” Shortly after starting skating lessons the technical skills in his tool bag had him flying around the rink even when temps dipped below -20F. You still likely catch him skiing around sub -40F looking like a marshmallow and smiling all the while….if you could see his face.
Alaskan mantra…..there is never bad weather, just bad equipment.
Off the ice, Liam founded the non-profit Driven to Move with it’s mission inspire youth to greatness by teaching goal-setting and healthy lifestyles to youth in schools. He also organizes annual community events including THE RUCKUS in THE MUCKUS and a golf tournament benefiting Special Olympics of the Tanana Valley.
Liam learned in Alaska the importance of community. When Liam takes the line at the race he knows what helps him fly around the track are the family, friends, and teammates.
- Liam hits 40mph when skating full speed on the ice
- Liam’s favorite shoes are the Noosas (they glow in the dark).
- Liam loves the outdoors wherever he finds himself- ski, bike, hike, run, surf, fish, boating.
- His Siberian Husky’s name is Nikita and she is an amazing running/skijoring buddy.
- Liam enjoys his time in the kitchen and sharing great meals with his family and friends.
- Self-proclaimed “nerd”, always seeking to learn and grow every day.