Diego Amaya Martinez: The Unknown Olympian

Diego leaned forward onto his elbows and rested his chin on his knuckles. “I don’t like to lose,” he said. His posture slouched forward, causing his hair to fall in front of his eyes.  His passion lacing throughout his words. 

We hear all the time as children about the importance of following our dreams, but how many of us take this sentiment seriously? Diego Amaya Martinez, a student here at Copper Hills High School, dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete for Columbia, and he takes it seriously. Rigorous training routines implemented bring him closer and closer to achieving his dream. 

Martinez first met speed skating in Columbia, where he was born and where his love for the sport started. He and his family moved to the state of Virginia. In Virginia, his commitment to speed skating grew, so he decided to research the best place to improve his speed skating. Through all of Martinez’s research he decided that Utah would be the best place for him. He was able to convince his parents to make the move across the country to Utah. Moving to Utah only encouraged his obsession with speed skating. 

Every morning, Martinez has one-on-one training with his coach, Mitch Whitmore. Practicing for 36 hours every week does weigh heavily on Martinez as he works to juggle school, practice, and a social life. Due to the amount of training in the rink, the school is able to work with Martinez and excuse him from first period. This time allows him to take a breath and relax.

Martinez has already made history by competing in the Youth Olympics by being the first Columbian to compete. When asked about his time there, Martinez simply said, “Youth [Olympics] was a really beautiful experience.” The experience was a learning curve for him. The races he competed in were high stakes, and he set the goal of reaching the podium.

His first race was the 500m race where he took 4th place, missing 3rd place by a few milliseconds. Shaking off the shortcomings of the first race, he prepared himself for the next one: the 1500m race. The same result came from this race too; Martinez came in 4th place. His second to last race was the mixed NOC team sprint, an event held only in the Youth Olympics. It is unique as the athletes are from different committees and are represented by different nations on the same team. After the race was over, Martinez’s team was sadly disqualified. Martinez was disappointed with the results, “ [I was] so frustrated cause I worked so hard for it.” His fists clenched with frustration, Martinez had one last chance to reach his goal of reaching the podium. 

His last race was the mass start race. The pressure was on. Gearing up for the race, Martinez’s nerves were aflame. The race started, Martinez focused on his movements pushing himself faster than before. The finish line in sight, Martinez’s legs were numb as he crossed the line. Gliding on the ice and slowing down to see his results, second place. Martinez had achieved his goal of reaching the podium. 

Martinez took a step back and reflected on the results of all of his races. “Now I know how to handle those situations better.” Martinez stated. Martinez was able to learn and ultimately benefit from his experience at Youth Olympic games. 

In the end we will all be on the sidelines watching out for Diego Amaya Martinez in the future Olympic games.