Whanganui speed skater Chase Morpeth had a little extra carry on when he returned home to New Zealand this week after winning a sprinting bronze medal at the USA National Track and Road Championships last month.
Competing in Colorado Springs from May 11-12, the 13-year-old had been in rigorous training for USA nationals, doing sessions twice a day at 7am and 5pm.
"At 1839m above sea level, Colorado Springs is known for it's high altitude Olympic training venues, although Chase was not phased by this at all," said Ken Smith, Wanganui speed skating spokesperson.
"The opportunity to skate on the covered banked track velodrome was a highlight for the young skater, who took on the event for the experience, without any expectations of a medal."
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Being hosted by Kelly Springer, the head coach of the Team USA Speed Skating Team, Morpeth made significant strides being in their environment, before racing against the best freshman skaters in the country, aged 12-14.
Morpeth took the bronze in the 100m sprint at the road event on May 11.
Overall, he competed in three track events at the velodrome and three road events, which were held at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
Morpeth received recent grant funding from the Future Champions Trust and won silver at the Oceania Speed Skating Champs in Brisbane back in April.
"While small in stature against his competitors, he has a great potential to further develop in the sport," said Smith.
" The experience which he has gained through international events has spurred his motivation to work towards his goal of competing in the next Youth Olympics, when he will be 16 years old."