ST. LOUIS — One up-and-coming racer that you might see at the next summer games is just 16 years old and already studying at Lindenwood University. Marissa Carter practices on what looks like a mini NASCAR track, but she rides it on two wheels.
"I started cycling because my parents do it and I kind of was just introduced to the sport at a really young age," Marissa Carter said.
Marissa is doing a double biology major at Lindenwood, where her mom also coaches track cycling.
"Is it in her blood? It's definitely in her blood," Julie Carter, Marissa's mom, said. "But at the same time it's a choice every single day."
They practice at the velodrome, which was built in 1962 in St. Louis in Penrose Park. It's actually the only velodrome in the state of Missouri.
Marissa is small in stature but makes up for it once her wheels hit the pavement.
"Being smaller than most people I've had to learn how to maneuver around people and not let people push me around. Been told a couple times that I'm one of the more aggressive people," Marissa said with a laugh.
Her mom agreed.
"Yeah she's aggressive and yeah she wants to win but she does it with a brain," Julie said. "She's scary smart. She's not only savvy but she just really puts a lot into it."
If you've seen velodrome racing you know the track is on an angle. It adds another level of difficulty.
"On the track there's so much strategy to it," Marissa said. "The banking is crazy. You don't wanna have to chase because it just burns too much energy you want to keep it all smooth."
As for going for gold in Marissa's future, she and her mom seem to be thinking in the same lane.
"I've always watched the Olympics on TV and been like 'Man I really want to go there," Marissa said.
"She's a pretty committed and dedicated person in everything," Julie said. "I don't think it is enough. I think the Olympics are in her future."