Kimberly Derrick (1985–)
As a world-class speed skater, Kimberly Derrick represented the United States in the 2006 and 2010 Olympic games. According to U.S. Olympic records, she was the first U.S. winter Olympian born in Arkansas.
Kimberly Derrick was born on April 28, 1985, in Blytheville (Mississippi County) to Ken Derrick and Holly Derrick. She grew up doing inline skating, and, by the age of eighteen, was a nationally ranked skater, winning and placing in numerous National Championships. Her family moved a lot, living in Arkansas—where she first started inline skating—as well as Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, and Utah. She was homeschooled to facilitate her skating career and her family’s frequent moves.
After watching the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, Derrick decided to make the switch from inline skating to ice skating. The transition was challenging, but she soon adjusted and was accepted to the United States Olympic Education Center. Based on the campus of Northern Michigan University, the program was designed to develop the younger skaters, thus serving as a feeder program for the next national team. Derrick made exceptional progress and quickly emerged as a world-class competitor, winning a spot on the 2006 U.S. Olympic team, competing in Turin, Italy.
The Olympic experience was marked by a family tragedy when her grandfather, who was part of her family entourage in Turin, died suddenly at the site. Derrick decided to compete, believing it was what her grandfather would have wanted, but it cast an undeniable pall over the event, at which she did not medal.
Derrick spent the next four years competing around the globe preparing for another Olympic opportunity. In the runup to the 2010 games, she showed herself to be a critical member of the U.S. team. In the World Cup competition during the 2008–2009 season, she earned three medals in the 1000 meters, including a gold. She also skated on the women’s relay team that won the gold medal in Dresden, Germany, a victory that marked the first time the U.S. women had won gold in that event. Too, at the ISU World Short Track Team Championships in the Netherlands, Derrick was a member of the women’s team that earned an overall bronze medal. Her women’s relay team also won a silver medal at World Cup 3 in Montreal.
Derrick’s successes on the road to the 2010 Olympics included winning bronze medals as part of the relay teams at the 2009 World Championships in Heerenveen in the Netherlands and in the 3000-meter relay at the 2010 World Championships in Sofia in Bulgaria. At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, she won the bronze medal as part of the 3000-meter relay
While she continued skating after the 2010 Olympics, she did not make the 2014 Olympic team and retired that year. Derrick had earlier begun a program at Northern Michigan University, planning to earn a degree in elementary education with the intention of going into teaching. However, working with Nike as part of her skating career caused her to consider going into business. From 2013 to 2014, she took courses in business administration and management as part of Ashworth College’s Professional Small Business Management Program.
She began working with GE Healthcare as a graphic production associate and then became the office manager of Mercedes-Benz of Collierville, in Collierville, Tennessee.
For additional information:
“Blades of Glory.” Arkansas Life, February 7, 2014. https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2014/feb/07/blades-of-glory/ (accessed January 24, 2023).
Johnson, Greg. “Olympic Speedskater and Former Caledonia Resident Kimberly Derrick Has Changed, but Her Inspiration Has Not.” Grand Rapids Press, January 21, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/olympics/2010/02/olympic_speedskater_and_former.html (accessed January 24, 2023).
Kestner, Baily. “Speed Skater Arkansas’ Only Winter Olympian.” Arkansas Traveler, February 5, 2014. https://www.uatrav.com/the_companion/article_ebc386ec-8d4c-11e3-880c-0017a43b2370.html (accessed January 24, 2023).
William H. Pruden III
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