On track

Strength trainer Shane Domer has accompanied U.S. speedskaters to Olympic Games in Sochi and Vancouver

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On track

Shane Domer

Shane Domer helped prepare UGA athletes for competition on tracks, courts, mats, grass and water while pursuing his master’s degree in exercise physiology and working in the Bulldogs’ weight room.

Now Domer’s domain is ice.

As head strength and conditioning coach for U.S. Speedskating, Domer (MEd ’04) was part of the official Team USA delegation at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Domer stayed in the Olympic Village, walking each day to training or competition in the Coastal Cluster Olympic Park, which included the Iceberg Skating Palace and the Adler Arena.

“There’s definitely an energy in the village that’s pretty inspiring,” says Domer, who joined U.S. Speedskating in 2007 and also worked the 2010 Vancouver Games. “When you first get in there, it’s cool to see all your athletes start to turn their game face on.”

But those faces fell as Team USA did not perform up to expectations. The first major letdown occurred when two-time Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis was eighth in the 1,000 meters.

“It was a little bit of a shock,” says Domer, who watched the events from the athletes’ section in each arena and helped take video. “The first thing you’re asking is, ‘Why? Why did that happen?’ And then you start going through a million things in your head.”

The long track speedskaters never reached the medal podium. The short track team came through in the very last speedskating event, winning the silver medal in the 5,000-meter relay.

“We have such a personal relationship with these athletes, having worked with them for years and years,” Domer says. “Seeing the short track guys on the last day with smiles on their faces, having accomplished something they wanted to accomplish, was a very positive moment.”

On a daily basis, Domer works on strength and power development with about 85 athletes at the Utah Olympic Oval near Salt Lake City.

He had no experience on ice while growing up in Woodstock, where Domer’s sports were baseball, basketball, track and field, swimming and martial arts.

His father is a martial arts instructor, and Domer started teaching when he was about 12 years old. “That’s where my coaching genes came from,” he says.

Domer also learned about weightlifting from his father. He developed an interest in strength and conditioning from working out at Coffee’s Gym in Marietta and received a bachelor’s degree in exercise science at Kennesaw State University.

After earning his master’s at UGA, Domer stayed on in the weight room for about a year as a strength coach for Olympic sports. In 2005, he took a position at the National Strength and Conditioning Association World Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Domer got on the ice for the first time when he arrived at U.S. Speedskating. “I wanted to know what it felt like, to do the technique,” he says. “I’m not very fast, but I can go around the rink.”

—Karen Rosen is a freelance writer living in Atlanta.