Back in February, Olympic hopeful Bridie Farrell shook up the speedskating world with an interview on WUWM's Lake Effect, when she related her story of sexual abuse committed by a former teammate.
The interview, and subsequent allegations from other skaters, resulted in the resignation of Andy Gabel from the International Skating Union, and an investigation that’s still underway by U.S. Speedskating.
Since the story broke, Farrell, who is a life insurance agent in New York City, says she's become an advocate against sexual abuse, especially within the sporting community.
“It’s been so rewarding to hear all the people that have felt comfortable enough coming forward telling me their horrific stories and how much my story has helped them,” she says.
Farrell had been training at Milwaukee’s Pettit National Ice Center up until recently when she moved her training out to Salt Lake City, which is where the U.S. Olympic Long Track Speedskating Team trials for the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held.
She says she needed to become familiar with Salt Lake City’s ice rink, which is at a higher altitude than the Pettit, in a city with naturally cleaner air.
“When you’re at the elite-elite level, so much of it is mental preparation and things of that nature," she says. "So having complete awareness and knowing your surroundings going into the competition will be something that will be an asset to me as well."
So far, her comeback's involved a tough training regiment; she continues to skate twice a day five days a week with additional off-ice training. On top of that, Farrell says she's sponsoring her own Olympic bid, without help from the U.S. Olympic Committee, though people are welcome to donate to her cause through her website.
"It's a very, very expensive dream I'm chasing," she says.
It may be challenging, but Farrell's determined to make the Olympic team. And yet she knows that from her ordeal she's gained a new perspective: there is more to life than skating.