"I never want to be that would've could've guy. I want to finish and say, this is as good as I was."
For Justin Stelly, his career never really feels like work.
"I speed skate for a living," Stelly said. "I get to race in circles and skate in spandex for a living"
Stelly is one of the top skaters in the nation at speedskating. He finished 7th at the 2018 Winter Olympic trials in the 1500 and 5000m races. He hails from Kaplan.
"It helps when you're not good at any of the other school sports. So you gotta go all eggs in the basket," Stelly explains of his choice of sport.
One might ask how someone from Kaplan, Louisiana, can get into ice speed skating? For Stelly, he says, it all began with roller skates.
"Skating was something I took to. I started skating in '91. Instantly, it would make sense, it was first nature. They made sense and never stopped," Stelly said.
Stelly built himself into one of the top inline skaters by the time he graduated from Kaplan High in 2005. Around that time, he decided to give the ice a try, because that's the only way to pursue the Olympic dream.
"It started to make sense. I got my first big sponsorship that next year and everything started to happen. That's when I realized I could race on the competitive world level," Stelly said.
Since then, Stelly has been on team USA for inline speed skating for a decade and has made it to Olympic trials three times. But a trip to the winter games still eludes him. At 30 years old, he knows his time is running short. But if he is to reach that ultimate goal. He wants to do it on his terms.
"The Olympian thing is amazing, but it's a self-thing. You don't do it for fame, cause there's none. It's for me," Stelly said.