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MT. LEBANON (KDKA) — A Pittsburgh native speed skater who’s heading to South Korea for the Olympics took some time to hang out with local kids Friday.

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Olympic qualifier John-Henry Krueger, originally from Peters Township, grew up skating at the Mt. Lebanon Ice Center.

“This is where it all began. The first time I was ever on the ice was at this ice rink. My mom was a professional figure-skating coach, so I spent lots of time in the ice rink,” Krueger said.

Krueger is going to represent the United States at the upcoming Olympic games.

“I hope to bring back gold,” he said.

The 22-year-old is heading to South Korea in 2018. Before he goes, he stopped at the Mt. Lebanon Ice Center for an autograph session and an after-school skate.

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“How do I skate so well? A lot of hard training. Unfortunately, no unhealthy food, and again, just more training,” he told one young child.

Three years ago, Krueger had to withdraw from the Olympic trials because he got swine flu.

“He had earned those spots for the U.S. on the Olympic team, and then when he couldn’t make the trip with the team because he didn’t qualify, it seemed a little bit cosmically unfair,” Krueger’s mother, Heidi Krueger, said, “so really, I think it humbled him then and he appreciates this trip so much more.”

Heidi says 2018 is the year.

“I’m so proud of him. He’s put so much time and work into this, you know, so many ups and downs,” she said. “I know it’s a dream come true for him.”

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“This is the strongest and fastest I’ve ever skated,” Krueger said. “I have lots of confidence in how I’m skating with my technique and my passing and my strategy.”