FLEMINGTON, NJ - The borough's Kimi Goetz is in Germany right now, preparing to compete in the International Skating Union's World Cup short track ice skating competition, which begins tomorrow.
Meanwhile, plans are taking shape for a fundraising event at Flemington Furs on March 31.
There are several World Cup competitions during the year, leading up to the World Championships in Seoul, South Korea – and Goetz's wins so far have secured her one of the two berths for U.S. women at that event.
Goetz, 21, is the daughter of Linda and Roger Goetz, who live in Flemington. She is a alumna of Hunterdon Central High School and the Frenchtown Roller Rink's speed skating team. After she went as far as anyone can in inline roller skating, she switched to ice racing and has set her sights on the Olympics.
She just missed qualifying to skate in the Olympics in Russia in 2014, so she's training hard for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.
Goetz works and trains in Salt Lake City, which leaves time for little else. “My routine is the same basically every week,” she says. “My team meets at 7:30 a.m. for our first ice training every day, Monday through Saturday, and we are there until noonish. We leave for lunch and come back at 1:30 for the second training. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I do my second workout alone, right after the first, and then head to work. Sundays we are off from training, so I work all day.”
She is a processor for a finance company, managing to make a living between all that training interspersed with competitions on three continents. “My boss is awesome!” says Goetz. “She's very understanding of my schedule and very flexible. I'm lucky.”
Although she declines to discuss what exactly she works on during all those practice sessions, she will say, “I never get bored with it. I always tell my mom the second I get tired of this, or stop enjoying it that's when I stop. This sport takes up too much time and money to not love what I am doing.”
“I do it because I love it,” says Goetz. She is always eager to go to the rink. “So that's pretty cool, to wake up every day and enjoy what you are going to go do. I don't think many people get that in life.”
This is her second year on the U.S. World Cup team, which means competing in China, Canada, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands. Last month, her wins had earned her a place at the 2016 World Championships in Seoul March 11-13. But before that, she'll be representing the U.S. in Dresden, Germany, Feb. 5-7, and Dordrecht, Holland, Feb. 12-14.
She enjoys the camaraderie of her fellow skaters – five women and seven men – but likes the idea that, except for the relay, she performs as an individual. “I know the results I get are from me and my work, not from a stronger teammate bringing up my results or a weaker one bringing them down. It's kind of cool to see where I stand completely alone.”
After the championships, she'll be back in her hometown to visit family and friends, and to be guest of honor at a fundraising reception. Last year a reception orchestrated by Joan Greiner was hosted by Bob Benjamin in the opulent lobby of Flemington Furs. It was attended by about 100 people and raised about $5,000 to help Goetz with her training expenses.
That scenario will be repeated on the evening of Thursday, March 31, according to Benjamin. All are invited, but a minimum donation might be required. “It's very exciting, and it will be a lot of fun,” he said. “We'll hear from Kim and get an update on how she's doing and where she's going.”
Plans are still taking shape, but last year's fundraiser featured a variety of food donated by Flemington establishments and an overhead banner donated by Jim Lebbad spanned Main Street, welcoming Goetz home.
Benjamin said, “We want to do what we can to support someone who's working so hard to achieve something exciting. If she wins, the whole town wins.”
Mayor Phil Greiner, husband of Joan, is also a Goetz enthusiast. At last year's party he told her: "With your talent and your hard work, Kimi, you've earned your place in the spotlight here in Flemington... the whole town is behind you."
Anyone who wants to make a donation, but can't make it to the party, is invited to send a check to the K. Goetz Olympic Fund/Flemington Borough, 29 New York Ave., Flemington, NJ 08822. Checks or cash are also welcome in canisters in shops and eateries all over the county.