Sometimes a passion you never knew you had skates right into your life. It happened quickly for one United States Army Reserve Soldier who is now on pace to achieve his goal of participating in the Olympics…100 meters at a time.
Sgt. 1st Class Markevous Humphrey, a native of Onley, Virginia, was always an athlete. Growing up he attended Nandua High school where he competed in football, track, and wrestling.
“I was actually the 2005 State Champion for my weight class in wrestling,” said Humphrey. “I also made the basketball team, but I couldn’t get to practices due to my football schedule.”
Humphrey didn’t know then, but he was already training his body for a sport he had never even considered.
One day, while thinking of things to do with his daughter, he decided skating would be something fun for them to do together. The two took up the hobby and continued to progress in their skill level.
He took things a step further by attending an adult skate night at the local rink and destiny stopped him in his tracks.
One of the wheels on his skates started wobbling so badly he couldn’t skate anymore. He walked his skates over to the in-house repair shop and started talking to one of the managers. (Skate shop owners)
The Skate shop owner, who had seen him skating, asked if he ever thought about competing in the USA Roller Sports. (Speed Skating). I attended a couple of practices and didn’t like it at first. Then I joined the Skate city speed team.
This prompted Humphrey to attend a clinic which taught attendees the rules and proper form. At the event he met with some of the top roller athletes and started to believe he could excel in the sport.
USA Roller Sports is recognized by World Skate and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee as the national governing body of competitive roller sports in the United States. These sports include; speed skating, figure skating, roller hockey, roller derby and other extreme sports within the United States.
After a little over a year with Skate city speed team Humphrey then moved on to Synergy speed team based out of Colorado. With this team he then competed at his first Outdoor Nationals and came close to beating the previous years national champion.
Months after that he competed at his first Indoor Championships.
At the race, he placed second and garnered a lot of attention from others who had been competing for years.
Since then, Humphrey, who typically competes in the 100 meter speed skating event, has placed highly in every race he has competed in and has become one of the fastest skaters in the sport.
After coming to North Carolina on orders, Humphrey joined the High Point speed club, based out of High Point, North Carolina to continue his racing.
Last month, Humphrey took a weekend pass, picked up his skates and set off on an 11-hour drive to compete at the 2022 USA Track Championship and Team USA trials in Hollywood, Florida.
Although he won silver (due to a faulty start) he was still invited to compete in the 2022 World Skate Roller Games. The competition took place from 24 Oct. to 13 Nov. 2022 in Buenos Aires, Argentina at Parque Puerto Madero.
The event was by invite only and featured the best skaters from all over the globe.
Just four years after beginning his journey into the world of inline speed skating he is now competing at all of the largest competitions the sport has to offer.
Individually, Humphrey has accomplished a lot in his short time with the sport, but he has also made huge contributions to his team as a whole.
“Markevous elevates the expectation,” said teammate James Springer. “He encourages and improves others as he does so for himself.”
Springer says Humphrey makes everyone feel valued. He remembers the first time they met. Although he hadn’t skated for two years it was Humphrey who walked up to him and greeted him with a hug.
“This community is tight knit,” said Humphrey. “I haven’t met anyone that I haven’t got along with, and we all try our best to mentor the children who are getting into the sport.”
Humphrey is currently on active-duty orders for one year, but usually serves as a Troop Program Unit (TPU) Soldier.
A TPU Soldier, unlike active-duty Soldiers, serves part time, allowing them to earn an extra paycheck, go to school, or work a civilian job while still maintaining many of the benefits of military service.
These Soldiers typically train on selected weekends and perform annual training which typically is two weeks long.
“My command has been very supportive of me,” said Humphrey. “They’ve allowed me to make up time so I could be present for my races.”
His success can be measured in many ways, but he says what’s most important to him is that he leaves the room knowing he’s does his very best and that everyone around him is better because of it.
Humphrey trains hard to compete…he trains hard to be a Soldier…and he always does it with a smile on his face.
“I’m always ready” said Humphrey. “I’ve achieved a lot, but I won’t stop until I bring home Olympic Gold.”