Not only does he have three international medals, but he was also the second alternate for the 2010 US Olympics’ Speedskating Team.
Justin, son of Shannon and Branden Stelly, started skating at a very early age. When he was only four-years-old, he would watch his uncle skate with a local team in Abbeville.
He began skating in 1992 and his parents quickly recognized their young son’s talent.
After skating with the Abbeville team for a few months, Justin moved on to Lafayette’s Skate Zone in ‘93 where he spent 13 years inline speedskating for their local team. During this time, Stelly competed against groups from all over the United States.
In 2006, the year after he graduated from Kaplan High, Justin decided to relocate to Salt Lake City, Utah where the U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team is headquartered.
For Stelly, this move was a leap of faith. He did not know anyone; in fact, Justin reveals, “I went to Salt Lake on a prayer. I packed my car and went on my own. I had to find a training team and start from scratch. I was just another roller skater who wanted to ice skate.”
Prior to 2006, Justin had never ice skated before. But his prayers paid off. After just a year and two months of ice skating practice, he was ranked third in the country and was given a spot on the U.S. World Team.
In 2008, Justin slid into a wall while skating and broke his ankle. After a grueling two month recovery, he began training for the Olympic trials.
Still battling his injury, Stelly was short two spots and ended up as an alternate for the 2010 Olympics’ US Ice Speedskating Team. He held the distinction of being the only skater from Louisiana to make the team.
Justin speaks of not fully meeting his goal, “It was frustrating. Everything I worked for and put myself into position for was taken away by an injury.”
After his injury, he deviated from ice skating but did not give up inline. He continued to inline skate and hone his skills.
In December of 2011, disaster struck again when the skater tore the meniscus in his knee. Needing a break, Stelly returned to Kaplan to have surgery and recover. Little did he know, upon returning to Salt Lake City in early 2012, that this would turn out to be the best season of his life.
Justin had a late start in training, and by April he didn’t feel that his knee was back to where it should be. However, he continued to train, but ended up receiving tough results in the July nationals. This still didn’t deter Stelly; he kept right on training.
In August, Justin received better results and qualified for the 2012 Inline World Championship Team.
After training for two weeks, Justin flew to Italy where he competed in the 2012 World Championships in Ascoli Piceno (track) and San Benedetto Del Tronto (road), Italy from September 6-15.
This would serve as a great experience for the skater, as he broke through a level of discomfort and ended up with great results.
Being known as a talented rain skater in the United States, Stelly was chosen to compete in the 500 meter inline sprint due to inclement weather. It was Justin’s moment to shine, and he earned his first world medal -- a bronze.
From there, Justin traveled to Columbia for the National Championships. He won a gold in the 20K elimination road and a silver in the 1K meter on track.
The reason these two medals are such an accomplishment is the fact that Colombia is a difficult country to compete in.
Inline skating is one of this country’s official sports, making the competition that much stronger.
Justin also qualified to represent team USA at the 2013 World Games in Cali Columbia which is the inline equivalent to the Olympics.
Next year the trials, for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will be held. Stelly plans to try out for the US Long Track Ice skating Team. Currently, he trains six to eight hours each day in order to perfect his skills.
Over the years, speedskating has taken Justin to many different countries including Korea, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Argentina, Columbia, Canada and Mexico. His parents have been a constant source of support since the beginning. Whenever possible, they accompany Justin to his competitions and help root him on to victory.
Discussing his passion for the sport she states, “It’s what I’m comfortable doing. I’ve been skating my whole life. Growing up, I got a lot of weird looks because it isn’t a major sport here. But it was the one thing I was good at, so I stuck with it.”