Derek Parra

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Derek Parra
Personal information
Born (1970-03-15) March 15, 1970 (age 54)
San Bernardino, California
Height1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)
Weight63 kg (139 lb; 9.9 st)
Country United States
SportSpeed skating
Medal record
Men's speed skating
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2002 Salt Lake City 1500 m
Silver medal – second place 2002 Salt Lake City 5000 m
World Single Distance Championships
Silver medal – second place 2001 Salt Lake City 1500 m
World Allround Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2002 Heerenveen Overall
U.S. Allrounds
Gold medal – first place 2000 Overall
U.S. Long Track Championships
Gold medal – first place 2004 1500 m

Derek Parra (born March 15, 1970) is an American inline skater and speed skater from San Bernardino, California, who graduated from Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California, in 1988. Parra won two medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics, held in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Parra's most successful season was from 2001 to 2002. At the 2002 Winter Olympics, he took the gold in the 1500 meters, an event in which he had been expected to do well but faced a deep pool of competition. Before that, he won the silver in the 5000 meters being bested by Jochem Uytdehaage of the Netherlands. He has worked part-time in Home Depot's gardening department in West Valley City, Utah.[1] In his book, Reflections in the Ice, Parra recounts pursuing his dream of becoming an inline skater at 17, working at McDonald's in Tampa, Florida, and being so poor he had to eat out of the trash.[1][2]

Parra was selected to take over as U.S. speed skating national all-around coach for the 2010 Olympics.

He appears in a Restore Our Future television ad endorsing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 U.S. presidential election and spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Parra became friends with Romney when he was president of the Salt Lake City Olympic organizing committee.[3]


Personal records[edit]

Personal records[4]
Men's speed skating
Event Result Date Location Notes
500 m 35.88 December 18, 2001 Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
1000 m 1:08.87 January 11, 2003 Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
1500 m 1:43.95 February 19, 2002 Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City World record until beaten by Shani Davis on January 9, 2005.[5]
3000 m 3:46.14 February 3, 2002 Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
5000 m 6:17.98 February 9, 2002 Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
10000 m 13:33.44 February 22, 2002 Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City

World records[edit]

Event Time Date Venue
1500 m 1:43.95 February 19, 2002 Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
Team pursuit 3:49.85 November 8, 2003 Vikingskipet, Hamar
Team pursuit 3:48.56 November 13, 2004 Vikingskipet, Hamar



  1. ^ a b Dettmann, Nick (December 19, 2004). "Parra adapting to life as 'Average Joe'". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 16, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Parra, Derek; Quinn, Patrick (2003). Reflections in the Ice: Inside the Heart and Mind of an Olympic Champion. Discovery Bay, CA: Podium Pub. ISBN 978-1-932618-00-6.
  3. ^ Benson, Lee (16 February 2012). "For Parra, the Games changed everything". Deseret News.
  4. ^ "Derek Parra". Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  5. ^ "Evolution of the world record 1500 meters Men". Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  6. ^ "Derek Parra". Retrieved August 29, 2012.

External links[edit]