4. On competing in front of a crowd of tens of thousands
No matter the professional sport, a huge aspect of performing well is keeping your cool in front of the crowd—and for both athletes, Minnesota is their home turf. At past Crashed Ice events in St. Paul, the crowd has hit as many as 100,000. (Apparently they get used to it.)
“There’s a lot of hype, especially because I know that a lot of that crowd is cheering for me because I’m from Minnesota or the U.S.,” Trunzo says. “Once you hit the track it seems crazy, but at the same time you go in focused—I don’t even hear the crowd half the time. I just focus on getting down to the end in first place…There’s so much stuff going on that you don’t even see the people hanging over the walls and yelling until you’re at the bottom and looking around.”
For Naasz, qualifying at the top, combined with skating in front of the hometown crowd, makes for a lot of hype.
“The past few years I’ve qualified No.1, so that means I’m in the first seed of the night and have fresh ice,” Naasz says. “The fans are excited, and they’ll always announce that I’m the hometown guy, then everybody erupts, and that really fuels you. It gives me a lot of energy, and it’s all positive, too, because I know that everyone’s rooting for me and hoping for the best.”
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