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#ErinJackson America's Next Great Speedskater Is Coming For the Dutch

#ErinJackson America's Next Great Speedskater Is Coming For the Dutch

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Americas Next Great Speedskater Is Coming for the Dutch

Erin Jackson felt her 2022 Winter Olympic Games hopes had vanished when she fell during a 500 m long track speedskating trial. Luckily, Brittany Bowe stepped in to provide the encouragement she needed, giving her the boost to keep going.

This season, the trio of former inline skaters from Ocala, Florida - Bowe, Mantia and Jackson - has all made impressive gains on long track. Now they will aim to continue that success in Beijing where they'll vie for gold medals.

Jordan Stolz

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands -- Jordan Stolz, an 18-year-old American speedskater who is already among the best in her sport, will race this weekend before 12,500 passionate Dutch fans at his first World Speed Skating Championships. Most of them will be rooting for him to triumph!

Stolz stands out among American speedskaters who have transitioned from other sports, having dedicated himself exclusively to skating since age five. That dedication has set him apart and given him an edge over his competition, earning him a place on the U.S. Team that will compete in PyeongChang next week.

At 16, he won the World Junior Speed Skating Championship and went on to capture three World Allround Titles, four World Sprint Championships and a 5,000-meter World Cup Event. This year he qualified for the United States Olympic Trials with hopes of making the 5,000 meter relay team.

He is widely considered the modern-day Eric Heiden, having earned gold medals in all five short track speed skating events at the 1980 Lake Placid Games and remaining the only American skater ever to hold all five world titles. A Wisconsin native and two-time U.S. Speed Skating Champion, he is now an elected member of the National Speed Skating Hall of Fame.

For the Netherlands, its 17 medals at Sochi (including one in short track) are equal to those won by both the U.S. and Russia combined.

Short track speed skating has seen a rebirth in recent years, and the Dutch have set another world record with seven gold medals at Sochi compared to just three for the United States and one for Russia. Yet despite these remarkable results, only a select few will make the team.

Jorien ter Mors, who won both the 1500m in 2014 and 1000m in 2018, will likely not make the team due to injuries. Esmee Visser is likely also out, while Carlijn Achtereekte is the only other skater to have made the squad after winning the 1500m on Thursday.

Kimi Goetz

Kimi Goetz's journey has been truly extraordinary; she's achieved World Championship level skating in three disciplines - inline speed skating, short track and long track. Now with eyes set on the 2022 Beijing Olympics, she is fueling both her body and soul to chase those goals with power, grace and character.

Hunterdon Central graduate Erin Keating has gone from Olympic gold medal contender to being denied her chance at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games due to an equipment issue, leaving her with a concussion and lengthy recovery process. Now, her focus is fully on bringing home a gold medal in Beijing - the ultimate prize for any athlete.

Some American speed skaters could potentially set this record: Jordan Stolz, Mia Manganello Kilburg and Joey Mantia.

Jordan Stolz, a Wisconsin native who set world-leading times on home ice in Milwaukee, and Mia Manganello Kilburg (Florida), both hold Olympic bronze medals in team pursuit and will be gunning for individual Olympic gold this year. Additionally, both are legitimate medal contenders in the 1000 meter dash.

Joey Mantia, 36 years old and with extensive skating experience under his belt, is a top ranked skater in both 1500 and 1000 meters. As leader of the men's team pursuit squad, he's also an established medal contender in men's 1000 meters.

Erin Jackson had been the top-ranked skater in the 500 meter event at U.S. Trials, but she made an error during warm-ups that costed her a spot on Team USA for Beijing.

Jackson wasn't going to let her teammates down. She followed in her friend's footsteps into ice speedskating, and soon enough made a name for herself in this competitive sport.

Soon enough, she began making waves on the national scene. After finishing second at the 2014 World Championships, she's looking to build on that with an impressive finish at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

Heiden became a legend in Norway and the Netherlands, where he reigned as undisputed king of speed skating. But outside Madison, Wisconsin he didn't really make an impact until 1976 when he won two 500 meter gold medals at the world championships in Innsbruck, Austria.

Mia Manganello Kilburg

Mia Manganello Kilburg is the next great speedskater to come from the US and she also happens to be an accomplished cyclist. Since childhood she's used cycling as cross training for speedskating and has a deep-seated love and passion for the sport.

She's an accomplished criterium bike rider and will be competing at the Elite Women's Criterium National Championships this month in Knoxville. Additionally, she races for UCI Women's Continental Team DNA Pro Cycling, but prefers using her bicycle as cross training for speed skating as it keeps her fit and allows her to focus on what she loves most - speed skating!

Kilburg and her teammates have established themselves as a formidable force, particularly in long-track events, where they've earned 11 World Cup medals over four seasons - including golds in 1000 meters and 1500 meters. She also earned bronze in the women's team pursuit event at the 2018 Olympics alongside Brittany Bowe and Heather Bergsma.

Her success has inspired her teammates to strive for greater excellence and set personal records. Additionally, Kewaskum's Jordan Stolz made the Olympic Long Track Trials this February, setting two track records that earned him a place on the team.

These results have already helped elevate USA Speed Skating's status and encouraged other athletes to work harder for their titles. She added that her teammates will be eager to compete at the Beijing Games and win a silver or gold medal, which would be their best result in years.

She reported her teammates are eager to raise their game in the 500 and 1000 meters, hoping to do so together as a team. Salt Lake City's Brittany Bowe, who is an accomplished former world champion, has won multiple races throughout her career.

She will compete in both the 500 and 1000 meters at the Olympics, while Utah's Kimi Goetz will race both 1,001 meters and 1500 meters. Another Salt Lake City skater, Joey Mantia, is also scheduled to participate in men's mass start events.

Joey Mantia

A young Federal Way boy sits enthralled by the graceful speed skaters as they glide around an oval at the Winter Games in 1994. At 12, Apolo Anton Ohno had just become America's most decorated short-track speedskater of all time.

Today, at least three more children in the neighborhood are watching Joey Mantia compete at his third Olympics and hoping to follow in his footsteps as America's next great speed skater.

Mantia, 36, is a two-time world champion in both men's 1500 meters and mass start events and an elite member of the U.S. team pursuit squad that recently broke a world record. Additionally, he has won back-to-back World Cup titles this season.

Mantia is one of the top speedskaters in the world and has had an incredible 10-year streak, winning six World Championships and taking home his first World Cup title in 2012. His success at Pyeongchang 2018 puts him one step away from earning his third career Olympic gold - making him one of only five speedskaters to have earned such a distinction.

Mantia has an incredible track record as a short-track speedskater, but he's still relatively unknown to long distance events where he needs to improve in order to earn a spot on an Olympic team. At present he ranks ninth in the 5000 meter event and hasn't won a medal there since 2014.

Mantia could easily become a gold medalist on his own, but to reach that goal he may need to team up with another skater who is capable of it all. Dai Kramer from Holland holds two 5,000 meter world records but isn't suitable for longer distance events such as team pursuit or mass start.

Dutch speedskaters are expected to do well at these Olympics, particularly Jorien ter Mors and Ireen Wust. Wust, 35, is already a five-time Olympic medalist in short track racing and she could potentially secure another in women's 1500 meter sprint events.

Though the Netherlands may take some time before it produces a long-distance star, if they can keep these young athletes motivated and in shape, their efforts will pay off in the future. They have all the makings of becoming formidable forces on the global stage.

 

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