Junior national champion, participating in the short track world cup, and placing third in the US short track championships are just some of Gabby Hachem’s accomplishments as a short track speed skater.
Hachem graduated from Wootton in 2017 and is going to attend the University of Pennsylvania next fall. She competed in the 2018 Olympic trials but didn’t make it. USA only qualified three spots; Hachem finished in sixth. But that doesn’t take away Hachem’s success as a speed skater.
Hachem started her career on ice as a figure skater while her younger brother was a speed skater. After her figure skating lessons she had to stay at the rink for her brother’s speed skating practices and saw how supportive and close his teammates were. Hachem eventually tried speed skating at the age of 12 after the moms from her brother’s team encouraged her to try. Hachem could tell as soon as she started speed skating, it was a better fit for her.
Hachem was also encouraged and supported by the faculty here. “My teachers, counselor, and administrator were more than helpful and supportive of me. They went above and beyond to accommodate when I needed to travel, and they would check in on me to see if I needed help and made sure I wouldn’t fall behind,” Hachem said.
During her time here, Hachem received good grades, served at her church, and was in involved in medical exploration programs, all while balancing 20 hours of training a week. “Gabby truly exhibits the Olympic spirit in that she always put forth her best effort and made it look so easy.” Jose Varela, Hachem’s counselor, said.
Currently, Hachem trains with the US national team as she moved to Utah in June of last year. She trains six days a week and seven hours a day. “To stay motivated, I try to keep focused on my goals despite the struggles I am going through. If I am having a hard time at practice, I’ll think of how bad I want to accomplish my next goal,” Hachem said.
Being a competitive speed skater there are sure to be bumps in the road. “The biggest struggle on my journey has been having to rebound from injuries. I have learned it is possible to come back even stronger if you’re passionate about what you do,” Hachem said.
Along with the bumps in the road come great successes. Hachem said, “As a skater the greatest accomplishment has been representing the US at multiple junior and senior international competitions. But more than any results the best thing that I’ve received from skating is growth as a person.”
Having a Patriot in the Olympic trials is inspiring to others. “Seeing someone from Wootton accomplish such great things is really cool,” sophomore Sabrina Shah said.
A piece of advice to anyone aspiring to be a successful athlete like her, Hachem said is, “To stay focused and most importantly have fun. Remember why you started the sport and don’t lose sight of the fact that you love it.”