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Whether Skating or Forensics it is All in the Details for Brianna Bocox

by David Seigerman

Every Monday night for much of her childhood, Brianna Bocox could see her future. Tuesday nights, too.

Each time, it was carried into her home in the southeastern corner of Wyoming courtesy of CBS.

“My dad and I used to watch ‘CSI: Miami’ or ‘NCIS’ together,” said Bocox, 24. “And I was like, ‘You know what? I want to be that when I grow up.’”

Initially, she was drawn to some distinguishing feature of recurring characters, finding familiar reflections in, say, a redhead on “CSI: Miami” — “I’m a ginger, and there was a ginger on the show, so I thought, ‘I could be her.’” Or the quirky Abby on “NCIS” — “She’s kinda weird, I’m kinda weird. Maybe I can do that?”

But she found a deeper fondness for the work portrayed on those shows, which is part of the story of how Bocox wound up at Utah Valley University, pursuing a degree in Forensic Science. A quick glance at the course catalog reads like CBS’ Crimetime Saturday block: Criminalistics, Forensic Anthropology, Footwear and Tire Mark Evidence and Examination, Crime Scene Investigation Techniques I and II. 

“For me, personally, I would like to get more into bloodstain analysis. Or the psychology behind why criminals commit the crimes,” Bocox said. “And forensic photography. That’s more the route that I would like to go.”

Fingerprints, though, is a different story.

“I took the course, and I thought, ‘This is not for me,’” she said. “Staring at endless fingerprints, that class was a pretty tough one.”

UVU, though, was not the primary reason Bocox bolted to the Salt Lake City area after high school. It was just fortuitous happenstance that a school there offered the opportunity to study exactly what she was looking to do.

The real reason she was Beehive State-bound dated back to something else she used to watch growing up. Something that aired far less frequently. Like, once every four years. On NBC.

Turns out, popular procedurals were not the only programming to pique her passion.

Bocox went because the Utah Olympic Oval is in Salt Lake City, the same city where the US Speedskating (USS) program is headquartered. And Brianna Bocox dreamed of becoming an Olympic long track speed skater.

“I grew up inlining. And my goal at the end of the day was to go to the Olympics and possibly place at the Olympics,” Bocox said. “Inline skating wasn’t in the Olympics. I attended three world championships because that was the highest I could go. And then when I graduated, I moved out here because I wanted to do ice.”

Oddly enough, Bocox’s viewing habits helped her transition to a new surface and a new sport. Even as an inline skater, she modeled the technique she’d seen demonstrated by Brittany Bowe and all the other world-class speedskaters she’d watched, studied and been inspired by.

“Me and my dad would go back and watch some of my races, and he’d say, ‘You’re skating just like an ice skater,” Bocox said. “On long track, you usually have one arm on your back, and you’re swinging one arm constantly. I did that almost all the time in my long-distance races inline. I paid attention to the detail I saw growing up watching the Olympic Games and long track speed skating.”

Attention to detail. If there is a trait common to both of Bocox’s dissimilar pursuits — speedskating and forensic science — that would be it. In the classroom, she’d study things like the “criteria used to determine successful identification” (a description lifted straight from the description of the Fingerprint Examination class Bocox found so challenging). And when it came to skating, Bocox had to learn to watch her step. 


“When I first transitioned over to ice, I was focusing on technique. My coach is very attentive to detail, and the technique is being precise. Like, making sure your feet are not turning out when you’re walking or when you’re just standing because that’s going to lead to your skates turning out,” said Bocox, who soon became mindful of pointing her feet straight forward whenever she stood.

That was just a first step for Bocox, but it pointed her in the right direction. Now, with three first-place finishes at the 2020 Four Continents Championship (1,000 meters, 1,500 meters, team pursuit) on her resume, Bocox is preparing for a busy fall — continuing her studies at Utah Valley and trying to qualify for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

“Everything is in the details,” Bocox said. “We’re in a time trial sport. So, every little thing matters.”

David Seigerman is a veteran sportswriter, producer, author and the producer/writer/host of the new sports podcast, Out Of Left Field. He is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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