Senior athlete trains for Olympics

Figure skater continues practicing for 2022 Winter Games despite pandemic


Kelly Canaan | With Permission

Senior athlete Dinh Tran performs in the 2020 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships where he took eighth place. Tran’s performance was live-streamed to the community in the Columbus Room in 2019, when he took second place in the U.S. Junior Championships.

By Sartaj Rajpal, Senior Reporter

Regardless of whether or not he has access to a rink, U.S. men’s figure skater Dinh Tran is continuing to train in hopes of competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
In order to stay in shape, Tran says he spends about an hour every day cross-training before he does technical skating exercises — all without getting shaved ice on his skates.

“I currently do almost a full hour of conditioning, stretching, stamina work, and I also train for hardcore exercises to assist with my on-ice jumping and spinning,” Tran said. “I then spend a great deal of time thinking through my detailed specifics and I then do my two full competitive programs run-throughs off-ice in their entirety.”
Like most athletes with dreams of competing in the Olympics, Dinh’s skating career began at a very young age.
“When I was about 4 years old, my older brothers were already skating,” Tran said. “I used to stand by the doorway and watch them skate. It looked super fun, and I wanted to be just like them.”
Tran says a coach noticed him and helped him begin his skating journey.
“After he was done with his lesson, he came to me and asked me if I wanted to skate,” Tran said. “I agreed, and I worked with him for about 12 years.”

He is so great to coach because he is willing to do anything that you guide him to do.

— Dee Goldstein, coach

Dee Goldstein, Dinh’s current coach, says that he is one of the most amazing athletes she’s ever worked with.
“Dinh’s adaptability, dedication and conscientiousness are some of the factors that make him great,” Goldstein said. “He has risen to the occasion and skated with determination.”
Due to the shelter-in-place order that is currently in effect until at least May 31, athletes like Tran are finding ways to maintain their rigorous training schedule at home.
“Dinh is absolutely amazing,” Goldstein said. “He is so great to coach because he is willing to do anything that you guide him to do. He’s been doing off-ice jumping; he’s been doing conditioning; he’s been doing flexibility work. I give him a long list every day, and he’s been amazing; he videos it.”
Even though Tran is used to practicing every day, he says that he’s had to adapt to his new training schedule. Since skating rinks are non-essential, shelter in place prevents him from going there to train.
“For me, it has been a total redirection of training during these difficult times,” he said. “Training under the new coronavirus restrictions has definitely proved to be a challenge to keep my on-ice skills honed and progressing consistently without the use of blades, skates and frozen water.”

I appreciate the opportunity to meet new people at competitions, and they often become lifelong friends.

— Dinh Tran

Goldstein says that Tran’s off-ice training will prove useful in competitions, where competitors do not have a lot of time to warm up on the ice before the competition begins.
“When you go over internationally, like when we were in Poland, they don’t give you a lot of ice time,” she said.
Tran videos his practice, and Goldstein reviews all of his training.
“Almost this entire off-ice ‘new Covid training program’ is documented on video and then gets transmitted to my coach daily,” Tran said, “and then all the suggestions and corrections are fully addressed and focused upon the very next day.”
Tran says he enjoys skating because of everything his commitment to the sport has taught him.
“I love skating because of the competitive nature of the sport,” Tran said. “I enjoy setting and achieving goals. I appreciate the opportunity to meet new people at competitions, and they often become lifelong friends.”