Local speed skater allergic to cold weather

Created: 02/08/2014 10:47 PM WHEC.com
By: Stephen Bond

Here in upstate New York, snow and ice is a part of our way of life, but what if the challenge was more than just digging out your car?

News10NBC spoke to a local speed skater who won't let the cold freeze her Olympic dream.

While the men took to the ice at Alder Arena Saturday, the women will wait until Sunday.

One local woman just missed out at being in Sochi, but she feels fortunate just to be alive and still on skates.

“This is by far the hardest thing I've ever done.”  

Brittany Salmon dreamed of representing the USA wearing a hockey sweater. She realized while playing at Princeton that dream was fading.

“I think one of the biggest things that sets me apart is I've had that past regret when it comes to sports and I know what it feels like to look back and think ‘hey what if,’” said Salmon.

The regret of not becoming the best stuck with salmon after her college career ended, so when a chance to compete again presented itself, Brittany didn't waste it.

 “I did some research and there was actually a club in Buffalo, a speed skating club, and so I got a hold of them and October 2009 was the first time I put on speed skates,” said Salmon.

After excelling in local meets, Salmon, determined not to waste an opportunity, moved to Salt Lake City to chase her Olympic dream.

“I'd always wanted to be in the Olympics since I can remember. Just the idea of Olympics and the greatest athletes competing, it’s just something really special and it's something I've always wanted,” she said.

Salmon is a cold weather athlete enjoying time on the ice and slopes and every time she steps foot on the ice, she risks her life in more ways than one.

“I'm actually, ironically, severely allergic to the cold weather,” said Salmon.

It's known as cold urticaria. Every 1 in 100,000 people suffer from the disease. Cold temperatures, rain and even her own sweat can trigger symptoms, including something as simple as a rash, or in Brittany's case, anaphylactic shock on the operating table.

 “They were just prepping my knee after I had been knocked out and about a minute in I started foaming at the mouth. My blood pressure dropped significantly and they said I was about unstable for about 10 minutes as they tried to work on me to keep me alive,” said Salmon.

Just part of the ongoing danger Salmon risks each and every day.

“There are times where it's a little scary, because I push myself a little too hard. It's not the easiest thing to deal with, but at the same time I'm not going to let it hold me back,” she said.

During this year's trials, Salmon was battling a number of lingering injuries and finished eighth, just missing the Sochi games.

At 27-years-old, Salmon is still hungry to taste Olympic gold, but she admits four years from now she may be a long shot.

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