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Meet the U.S. Speed Skating team for the fall World Cup series

Brittany Bowe
2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Meet the U.S. Speed Skating team for the fall World Cup series

What to know about the 15 U.S. speed skaters who will compete in the pre-Olympic World Cup events

For the 15 speed skaters named to the U.S.' fall World Cup team, the road to PyeongChang goes through the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Utah this fall. Those are the four hosts of the World Cup competitions which will determine how many country quota spots the U.S. will earn for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

U.S. Speed Skating announced the roster for the fall World Cup series on Tuesday, two days after the World Cup Qualifier wrapped up at the Utah Olympic Oval. Of the 15 skaters selected to be on the experienced squad, 10 are already Olympians.

Here's what to know about the athletes representing the U.S. at the fall World Cup series.

Shani Davis

The most decorated athlete on the roster is four-time Olympic medalist Davis, who has been competing on the World Cup circuit for over 10 years. Davis won his first Olympic medals, 1000m gold and 1500m silver, at the 2006 Torino Olympics, and turned in another two-medal performance (again 1000m gold and 1500m silver) at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He fell short of the podium at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and left emptyhanded. At the World Cup Qualifiers, Davis finished fourth in three races: the 500m #1, 1000m and 1500m.

Jonathan Garcia

Garcia earned a spot on his first World Cup team in 2012, then made the U.S. Olympic speed skating team two years later. Garcia competed in the 1000m distance in Sochi and finished 28th. At the World Cup Qualifiers, Garcia finished second in the 500m #1 and #2 as well as in the 1000m.

Brian Hansen

Two-time Olympian Hansen earned a silver medal in the team pursuit at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and finished in the top 10 in all three of his events at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. After Sochi, Hansen took two years off from skating to earn a degree in business from the University of Colorado, Boulder, but returned to training last season.  Hansen finished second in the 1500m and third in the 1000m at the World Cup Qualifiers.

Emery Lehman

Lehman was the youngest U.S. male athlete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Now 21 years old, Lehman is one of America's strongest distance skaters and finished first in the 5000m and 10,000m races at the World Cup Qualifiers. He's also the reigning national champion in the longest distance on the Olympic program, the 10,000m. 

Joey Mantia

Mantia was the only U.S. man to win a medal at the 2017 World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships: a gold in the mass start. Mantia, also a 2014 Olympian, looked to still be in world champion shape at the World Cup Qualifiers, winning both mass start races as well as notching victories in the 1000m and 1500m races. 

Jeffrey Swider-Peltz, Jr.

Swider-Peltz is the only man on the team without Olympic experience, but speed skating at the Winter Games are in his blood: his mother, Nancy Swider-Peltz, is a former speed skater who competed at four Olympics from 1976 to 1988. He earned his spot on the World Cup team by finishing second in mass start #2 race at the Qualifiers. 

Mitch Whitmore

Whitmore is a sprinter who holds the American record in the 500m. Unsurprisingly, the two-time Olympian won both of the 500m races at the World Cup Qualifiers, and posted a season-best time of 34.75 in the 500m #2.  

Petra Acker

Acker competed at the 2010 and 2014 U.S. Olympic Trials, but didn't make either Olympic team. Her run at the 2018 Winter Games is looking more likely to have a happy ending, as she made her world championship debut in 2017 and competed at last year's World Cup series. At the Qualifiers, Acker finished second in the 5000m, third in the 3000m and fifth in the 1500m.

Heather Bergsma

Bergsma has become one of the most dominant female speed skaters in the world in the years since Sochi, and her performance at the World Cup Qualifiers showed she's still a heavy favorite to win nearly everything she races. The reigning world champion in the 1000m and 1500m claimed victory in both those races this past weekend, as well as the 500m and mass start races. Bergsma is a two-time Olympian who has yet to win any Olympic medals, but her recent accomplishments include winning the overall World Cup title last season.

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Brittany Bowe

Bowe missed out on most of last season due to a concussion she sustained in the summer of 2016. Bowe's long recovery looks to be nearing completion based on this past weekend's races: she finished in the top three in all four of her races, and finished just .03 seconds behind Bergsma in the 1000m--the distance in which she holds the world record.

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Kelly Gunther

A member of the 2014 Olympic team, Gunther took time off from skating after Sochi (and adopted a black lab named Sochi) before returning to the ice. At the World Cup Qualifiers, Gunther finished fourth in the 500m #2, and sixth in the 500m #1, 1000m and 1500m.

Mia Manganello

Manganello continues her comeback to the ice after missing the 2010 Olympic team and spending nearly six years as a competitive cyclist. Manganello won the 3000m race and finished third in the 1500m at the World Cup Qualifiers.

Carlijn Schoutens

Schoutens is a newcomer to Team USA: while she was born in the U.S., she grew up in the Netherlands and competed for them until she returned to the states in 2014. The distance specialist won the 5000m and placed second in the 3000m at the World Cup Qualifiers.

Paige Schwartzburg

This will be Schwartzburg's third season on the World Cup circuit. At the World Cup Qualifiers she turned in two fourth place finishes, in the 1500m and 1000m. She also finished eighth and then seventh in the two 500m races.

Sugar Todd

Another 2014 Olympian, Todd finished in the top three in all of her events at the World Cup Qualifiers: second in the 500m #1, then third in the 500m #2 and third in the 1000m. 

 

The first World Cup event this season will take place from Nov. 10-12 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. The second stop will be in Stavanger, Norway from Nov. 17-19, then move to Calgary, Canada for the third World Cup from Dec. 1-3. The fall series will wrap up in Salt Lake City, Utah from Dec. 8-10. 

The U.S. can qualify a maximum of 10 athletes per gender to the PyeongChang Olympics.

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