U.S. Speedskaters Take Bronze in Group Pursuit
The USA completed third in speedskating’s workforce pursuit on Tuesday, accumulating the second American speedskating medal of those Olympics. The USA males are the world report holders within the workforce pursuit and had been favored to win the occasion, making the third-place end equal elements success and disappointment.
The American workforce of Joey Mantia, Casey Dawson and Emery Lehman defeated the Netherlands within the B closing — successfully the bronze medal race — by nearly three seconds. Norway received the gold, for the second Olympics in a row, defeating Russia within the closing.
However an surprising determination probably value america an opportunity to race Norway within the closing. Mantia, essentially the most achieved American skater, didn’t skate within the semifinals towards a workforce from Russia, with Ethan Cepuran chosen as a substitute by the workforce to race with Dawson and Lehman.
Dawson, Lehman and Cepuran skated properly, main by means of the center of the race — their time of three minutes 37.05 seconds was sooner than the Olympic report (and sooner than the Individuals skated with Mantia within the B closing). However the Russians skated a good higher race, and received by nearly half a second.
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Cepuran and Mantia each mentioned they had been solely just a little bit disenchanted by the semifinal loss. “How unfortunate do you gotta be that Russia goes 4 seconds sooner of their semi than their closing?” Mantia mentioned. “Race of their lives. You’ll be able to’t actually be unhappy about it. It’s simply type of unfortunate.”
The plan was all the time for Mantia to not skate within the quarterfinals, the workforce mentioned. Earlier than the semifinals the skaters sat down and talked frankly about how all of them felt, and that dialog resulted in Cepuran’s skating within the semifinals as a substitute of Mantia. After the semifinals, Cepuran was extra drained than Dawson, who arrived at the Olympics late and was brisker, and so he stepped apart for Mantia.
Within the males’s workforce pursuit, three workforce members skate in single file solely inches aside for eight laps, with the time of the final skater to cross the end line counted. Often each lap or two the entrance skater, who does the grueling work of setting the tempo whereas the others glide in his slipstream, peels to the again and lets a brand new teammate lead, and undergo.
As a gaggle of people, america skaters are much less achieved than most of their opponents. None of them had received an Olympic medal earlier than, for instance, and apart from Mantia, none have come significantly shut. Their opponents within the bronze medal race, the Dutch, had been led by the nine-time Olympic medalist Sven Kramer and the four-time medalist Patrick Roest.
However america has prioritized the workforce pursuit over the previous 4 years with a bold and innovative strategy that has upended how the race is run. As an alternative of exchanging the function of who skates up entrance, america has one member lead your complete race, whereas his teammates use the power saved to bodily push each other ahead. The technique has had success: The Individuals set the world report in Salt Lake Metropolis in December, and the Norwegians, who received the gold on Tuesday, freely admit to having copied it.
The bronze medal is the primary for all america skaters, and got here within the third, and probably closing, Olympics for Mantia, who’s 36. Final week he appeared he appeared resigned to retiring with out ever successful an Olympic medal after ending sixth within the 1,500 meters.
“It’s heartbreaking, you already know,” Mantia mentioned on the time. “I actually thought that this was my likelihood.”
It was troublesome to be too disenchanted, then, after lastly successful a medal. “I really feel like the burden’s been lifted in a way,” Mantia mentioned. “I’m an Olympic medalist.”
Within the ladies’s workforce pursuit, the favored Canadians defeated the Japanese and set a brand new Olympic report. The Japanese led your complete race, however on the ultimate curve Nana Takagi abruptly misplaced her steadiness and fell, handing the gold medal to the Canadians. The Netherlands defeated Russia for the bronze.