Florida's Brittany Bowe Competes in First Event at Sochi Winter Olympics

Ocala-born speed skater competes in 500-meter with family watching

Florida native Brittany Bowe took the ice Tuesday to take part in her first speed skating event at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Bowe came in 13th place in the women's 500-meter Tuesday, an impressive finish for the 25-year-old Ocala native.

Family members said she dreamed of being an Olympian since she was little.

"I do marvel that she has the privilege and the opportunity to represent this great country," Debbie Bowe said before the games began.

It's an opportunity Bowe hoped would come on wheels, but when roller skating didn't become an Olympic sport, the Florida Atlantic University basketball star turned to the ice, with a passion that catapulted her to the Sochi Games.

"I’m like, well it’s just Brittany and it’s going to be one more race so let’s just focus that it’s just one more race," Debbie Bowe said.

The Bowe family made it to Russia in time to watch Brittany compete Tuesday.

"I don't think it gets bigger than this," Debbie Bowe said.

"I don’t think you can really predict how you’re gonna feel but it gives you a lump in your throat just knowing that she’s an Olympic athlete," father Mike Bowe said.

Lee Sang Hwa of South Korea captured gold in the 500-meter, while Russia's Olga Fatkulina won silver and Margot Boer of the Netherlands won bronze.

Bowe is still scheduled to participate in the 1,000-meter, 1,500-meter and team events. For info on when to watch her, click here.

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