Long track stars past, present and future took to the Pettit Center ice ribbon in Milwaukee for the second of five days of U.S. Speed Skating Olympic Trials. Now, several of those stars can call themselves Olympic Team members for 2022.
Thursday saw action in the men's and women's 1000m events, where top-ranked veterans Brittany Bowe, Erin Jackson and Joey Mantia joined exiting newcomers in gunning for the 2022 Winter Games. Here's how the events unfolded:
Brittany Bowe’s goal for the 2022 Winter Olympics is simple: Gold. She proved exactly why in the women’s 1000m, breaking the Pettit Center track record en route to earning the lone guaranteed Olympic Team berth in the event.
Paired with fellow No. 1-ranked skater Erin Jackson – who holds the top spot in the 500m – Bowe skated a blistering 1:13.63 to affirm her status as Olympic favorite. She will compete at her third Winter Games in February in search of a first individual Olympic medal. She holds a bronze from the PyeongChang 2018 team pursuit event.
Jackson, meanwhile, posted a respectable 1:15.88 while attempting to keep pace with Bowe. She held the provisional second place spot – worth a non-guaranteed but likely spot on the Olympic Team – until the final pairing, when Kimi Goetz took the ice.
Goetz trailed Jackson’s pace through the first 600m but powered through a grueling final lap to clock in at 1:14.89. The former short track Olympic hopeful, who had to withdraw from the 2018 Short Track Trials due to a concussion, is now likely headed to her first Winter Olympics at 27 years old.
Jackson is the heavy favorite to make the team in the 500m, scheduled for Friday night.
Milwaukee might have seen the rise of a new American speed skating star. Fittingly, that rising star calls Wisconsin home and the Pettit Center his local training facility.
17-year-old Jordan Stolz of Kewaskum, Wisconsin skated a time that will turn heads not just in the U.S., but around the world. Prior to Thursday, no skater on the planet had managed to clock under 1:08 in the 1000m in a venue close to sea level.
Stolz, in the penultimate pair of the evening, finished in 1:07.61. With it, he guaranteed himself a spot at the 2022 Winter Olympics, where he will now be on podium watch. He recently notched his first podium at a World Cup event in Calgary to close out 2021.
The effort took its toll on Stolz, who was too winded to give an interview after the race.
Finishing over a second behind Stolz at 1:09 flat, Joey Mantia snagged the other provisional Olympic place. The top-ranked skater in the 1500m and three-time world champion in the mass start looks primed to be very busy at his third Olympics. Four years ago, he finished just outside the medals in fourth in the 1000m.