Anthony Lobello sprints at 40 miles per hour in carbon fiber boots, with boot bottoms made from airplane aluminum, and bearings (hardware that helps the wheels spin fast) made like those in Formula 1 racecars. "They're just a little smaller," he explains.
Anthony is a 17-year-old inline skating champ from Tallahassee, Florida. "Skating has been a big influence in my life," he says, but Anthony is involved in other activities as well. He plays on a championship soccer team scoring 25 goals and racking up the most assists on his team last season. He also plays the guitar and would like to take voice lessons. And he's on the honor roll at school.
How does he manage to do it all? "When you advance in one area, like skating, you find it easier to advance in others, like school," he declares.
Anthony began skating when he was seven and someone asked him if he wanted to join the speed team. "What's the speed team?," he asked. He must have found out, because Anthony went from skating for fun to winning his first national championship in less than a year! He says, "When I started, I didn't take it too seriously. I just went out there and tried to skate as fast as I could."
These days, Anthony keeps a competitive skater's tough schedule. (Warning: don't try do this much if you're just starting out!) He trains with his coach three days a week, all year long. On his own, he bikes between 30 and 60 miles each day, and jogs "it's good for the lungs." When preparing for a competition, Anthony says, "I eat well and go to bed on time. I just do what I normally do. I also might watch a race on TV to get my mind prepared, and think about my strategy."
Anthony has won regional and national championships with his team, the Southern Speed. He also participated in the 2000 Junior World Championships in Colombia and the 2001 Junior World Championships in France, where he won gold in the 5,000 meter relay and silver in the 500 meter sprint!
Anthony had help getting to gold. He says, "My mom backs me 1000%. She's a very important lady." She supports the sport of inline skating, too by organizing races and promoting inline skaters.
Inline skating isn't an official Olympic sport yet, but Anthony hopes it will be by the 2008 Summer Olympics. "There's more than a 70% chance," he explains. And if he can, Anthony aims to be positioned at the start line! "I'll be a decent age for the 2008 Olympics. I'd love to race in it if I could. It's a very exciting time." Anthony also plans to attend college, because "it's an important aspect of life. After all, I may not skate competitively forever."
Even with all of his practice, Anthony still skates for fun. He says, "I go out and street skate with jeans on." If you want to get involved with skating, Anthony advises, "Go out with friends. Skate on the street. Skate in the rink. Have fun on your skates that's what I did." He's all for wearing protective gear and says, "When you're outside skating and you fall, you get a lot of road rash really, really bad stuff." He concludes, "You can't do anything but your best. The more you skate, the better you get. And the better you get, the more you like it."
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