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Stafford teen heads to World Inline Speed Skating Championships.
Devin qualified for the team
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Date published: 8/31/2012
At 5-foot-2, Devin Firek usually isn't the biggest guy on the inline speed skating track.
But what he lacks in size he more than makes up for in speed, aggressiveness and sheer determination.
The Stafford County teen, who first pulled on a pair of roller skates at age 3, is taking all three qualities with him to Italy to represent the United States at the World Inline Speed Skating Championships next week.
Since inline skating is not yet an Olympic sport, this event is essentially the biggest roller-sports stage there is.
"It's basically our little Olympics," said Mike Firek, Devin's father and an accomplished skater himself.
It's quite an accomplishment for an athlete who has done most of his training on the rink at Cavalier Family Skating on U.S. 1 or around the track at Dixon-Smith Middle School on Deacon Road. Mike Firek competed in artistic skating events in the 1970s, but he said his youngest son has always favored speed.
"He just took off when we put him on skates," said Mike, who manages Mid-Atlantic Knife Co. in Ashland and coaches the speed-skating team at Cavalier.
Devin is often competing against taller athletes, and it takes two or three of his strides to equal one of theirs, said his mother, Betty Firek, who delivers mail for the Postal Service.
"He likes to be the best," she said, "and he'll run those kids down with those short legs."
'COME AND CATCH ME'
Though he's been skating most of his life, Devin, now 18 and a Stafford High grad, said he never expected to compete at this level.
He joined the speed-skating team at Cavalier--coached by his father, who managed the rink for 14 years--when he was just a tot.
But he gave it up in middle school to pursue other sports, including football, lacrosse, cross country and wrestling. He came back to skating after a two-year absence, mostly as a way to lose weight for wrestling.
"I was in the back of the pack for a while," he recalled. "Then I just got focused on it one summer. The next indoor season really set it off, and I started winning everything."
He has earned nine medals competing at national events governed by USA Roller Sports.
"When he came back," his father said, "he came back hungry."
Devin Firek's trip to the World Inline Speed Skating Championships in Italy is likely to cost his family at least $4,000.
Their friends at Cavalier Family Skating, at 1924 Jefferson Davis Highway
If you can't make it, you can still help out by sending donations to the Devin Firek Skating Fund, Box 7152, Fredericksburg, Va. 22404.
Stafford teen Devin Firek will be one of two dozen athletes representing the United States at this year's World Inline Speed Skating Championships in Italy.
Officials plan to stream each event live at pattinatorisam
Officials are also posting videos and photos to face
And for a good laugh, check out the video of Devin entertaining the crowd at last year's world championships in South Korea: daily