(KUTV) Carlijn Schoutens is a long track speedskater who is representing the United States in the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Schoutens feels a lot of pride with being an Olympic athlete.
"As it comes closer and closer, you just want it more and more," she said. "Now that I've earned it, it's just so special. I can't wait to actually experience the games."
Schoutens has been skating since she was a child, but started getting more serious about it when she was around 12 years old.
"Just from there on, it got more and more time consuming, more and more serious," she said.
She has been focusing on speedskating for about 10 years, but also continued pursuing her education.
She even started medical school in her home country of the Netherlands before taking a leave.
Her parents traveled from the Netherlands to watch her qualify for the games in the Olympic trials.
"It was just so lovely to see how happy they were when I made it," she recalled. "To share that excitement with them and all of my other family makes it that much more special."
Schoutens was born in New Jersey, but grew up in the Netherlands. She also lived in Virginia for a period of time during elementary school.
"I feel like that's really where I got the idea to move to America by myself," she said.
She when moved back to the Netherlands, she always had the thought that she would come back to America.
At 19 years old, she moved to the Salt Lake area by herself to start her intense training.
"I didn't really know what was going to happen at all," she said. "Once I settled here and made friends in the speedskating community and felt so supported by everyone, it just felt like a new home."
She spends a lot of time skating and training, but gets the chance to play in the off season. But even with her rigorous schedule, she doesn't feel like she's missing out on life.
"For me, there's a lot of satisfaction in doing everything that's required to skate fast, so I don't really feel like I'm sacrificing that many other things," she said.
And Schoutens hopes to show off all her hard work to the world when she competes at the Olympics next month.
"I get to enjoy the fruits of all that work, so I hope it can just be a cherry on top of everything that's already been so fun," Schoutens said. "Now it gets to be even better because I can compete at the Olympic Games."