Derek Parra

Last updated
Derek Parra
Personal information
Born (1970-03-15) March 15, 1970 (age 48)
San Bernardino, California
Height 1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)
Weight 63 kg (139 lb; 9.9 st)
Country  United States
Sport Speed skating

Derek Parra (born March 15, 1970) is a Mexican 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, 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

Personal records [4]
Men's speed skating
500 m35.88December 18, 2001 Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
1000 m1:08.87January 11, 2003Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
1500 m1:43.95February 19, 2002Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City World record until beaten by Shani Davis on January 9, 2005. [5]
Still Olympic record. [6] [7]
3000 m3:46.14February 3, 2002Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
5000 m6:17.98February 9, 2002Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
10000 m13:33.44February 22, 2002Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City

World records

1500 m 1:43.95February 19, 2002 Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City
Team pursuit 3:49.85November 8, 2003 Vikingskipet, Hamar
Team pursuit3:48.56November 13, 2004Vikingskipet, Hamar

Source: [8]


  1. 1 2 Dettmann, Nick (December 19, 2004). "Parra adapting to life as 'Average Joe'". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  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.
  4. "Derek Parra". Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  5. "Evolution of the world record 1500 meters Men". Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  6. "Olympic Records". Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  7. "National Records – United States (USA)". Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  8. "Derek Parra". Retrieved August 29, 2012.