Maria Garcia represents the true American dream. Born and raised in Southern California, Maria grew up in a Mexican-American household. Her father emigrated from Mexico as a teenager, determined to give his family everything the world had to offer. Maria is a five-time World Cup team member, 2006 Winter Olympian, and a 2010 Olympic Long-Track Speedskating Trials qualifier.
Maria Garcia first started figure skating at the age of five. Though she took naturally to the sport, figure skating wasn’t financially feasible for her family. At 11 years old, her mother saw a poster at the ice rink advertising to try speedskating for $3. With passion for skating and a natural talent for speed, Maria made the switch. Within three months, she competed at the Nationals speedskating competition and placed third in her age group.
Maria has achieved much success within the sport. Missing the 2002 Olympic trials due to a severe knee injury, she was honored by the LA84 Foundation by running the Olympic Torch Relay through Los Angeles. When she broke her back in October 2004 at a World Cup in China, Maria was determined not to miss another chance at the Olympics. She came back and won the U.S. Jr. Championships a few months later, and then pulled off another win at the Olympic trials, earning a spot on the 2006 Olympic team.
Years of hard work, dedication and perseverance have shown her that dreams really do come true. After an injury at the 2009 Short Track Olympic Trials prevented her from qualifying for the Short Track Speedskating team, Maria immediately decided that she would stop at nothing to pursue her goal. Maria decided to learn the Long Track Speedskating discipline, and qualified to compete at the Long Track Olympic Trials. Though she ultimately did not make the team she continues to be a part of the speedskating community.
Maria trains and coaches speedskating at home in Carson, CA. She is currently pursuing a degree in nursing while also studying for a career as a sports psychologist. Maria hopes to volunteer with the Doctors Without Borders program someday.
Los Angeles Times, Sports, Helene Elliott
Maria Garcia of Carson, a member of the U.S. short-track speedskating team at the Turin Olympics and part of the successful program of the Southern California Speed Skating Assn., missed a chance to qualify for the Vancouver Games when she fell hard during the Olympic trials earlier this month in Marquette, Mich.
But that didn’t end Garcia’s Olympic hopes. She switched to long-track skating even though she had no experience with that discipline and, remarkably, qualified to compete in the 500-meter event at an Olympic qualifying event in late October in Milwaukee. She might also try to get a qualifying time in the 1,000.
“Why not!? My love of sport is through the journey,” she said of making the switch. “Life will always continue on. Qualifying for the long-track Olympic trials is just as possible as it is impossible. I may come nowhere close, but it will be pure joy every step of the way. That’s what sports and life should be about, always looking and rising to your next challenge.”
Melissa and Erica spoke to Maria Cruz Garcia — the Olympic Short Track speedskater who suffered an injury on Saturday, leaving many to speculate that she may not compete in the Vancouver games. She told us a different story …
Listen to the podcast here!
US Speed Skating
Salt Lake City, UT. The U.S. National Short Track Speedskaters travel to Marquette, Michigan this week to participate in the U.S. Short Track Championships/Olympic Trials to be held on Sept. 8-12, 2009.
Along with members of the national training program, U.S. speedskater Maria Cruz Garcia- who chooses to reside outside of the national training center- also qualified to participate in the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. (read more)
Launched in February 2009, The Concierge Questionnaire is a hip, informative and fun travel magazine, dedicated to providing “valuable answers from those who know.”
The Concierge Questionnaire’s new “Headed to Vancouver” section highlights Olympians to get insight from some of the best athletes in the world! Featured athletes include Maria Cruz Garcia, Ashley Wagner and Michelle Roark, with more to come! (read more)
Maria Cruz Garcia, Erin Hamlin, Chellsie Memmel, Shannon Miller, Michelle Roark, Angela Ruggiero, and Ashley Wagner have joined the roster of stars at Great Friends Greetings!
Great Friends Greetings is a totally unique gift idea. Great Friends Greetings sells custom printed premium quality greeting cards that make great gifts and feature well-known sports, music, TV and movie stars.
Great Friends Greetings’ unique greeting card, containing a message designed and personalized by the customer, appears to the recipient to come directly from the athlete. They have a spectacular photo printed in front and a customer composed message inside. The cards are signed with the celebrity’s actual signature image. (read more)