The U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials, expected to produce a team filled with medal potential, air live this week on NBC Sports, USA Network, NBCOlympics.com, and Peacock.
Brittany Bowe, Erin Jackson and Joey Mantia, all natives of Ocala, Florida, and ranked No. 1 in the world in their best distance, headline the fields in Milwaukee.
The U.S. can currently send two skaters to the Olympics in the men’s and women’s 500m, 1000m and 1500m, mass starts and men’s 5000m and a men’s team pursuit pool. It’s possible the U.S. may get more spots later this month.
Mia Kilburg holds a commanding lead to grab an Olympic spot in the women’s mass start, having won the first two races in a three-race series that culminates at trials.
The roster is capped at seven men and five women total, so some skaters will have to qualify in multiple events to fill all the spots. That’s very possible with some of the American talent.
Start with Bowe, an 11-time world championships medalist who ranks No. 1 in the world in the 1000m and No. 2 in the 1500m. In 2018, Bowe was part of the U.S. women’s team pursuit that earned bronze, the nation’s first Olympic women’s speed skating medal since 2002.
Then there’s Jackson, the former roller derby skater who in 2018 became the first Black woman to make a U.S. Olympic speed skating team on mere months of training on ice. She entered this season with a best World Cup finish of ninth, then won four of the eight 500m races on the circuit to become an Olympic title contender.
Mantia, a three-time world champion in the mass start, won two of the four World Cup 1500m races this fall. He can become the first U.S. male speed skater to win an Olympic medal since 2010.
All three of them grew up roller skating, training at different times under inline coach Renee Hildebrand in Ocala before converting to the ice and moving to Salt Lake City. Hildebrand, a grandmother in her late 50s, has molded skaters at a roller rink behind a Save A Lot.
Since PyeongChang, the top U.S. skaters for the previous decade, Shani Davis and Heather Bergsma, retired.
U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials Broadcast Schedule
|Wednesday||6 p.m.||W3000m, M5000m||USA | STREAM LINK|
|Thursday||7 p.m.||Men’s, Women’s 1000m||USA | STREAM LINK|
|Friday||6 p.m.||Men’s, Women’s 500m||USA | STREAM LINK|
|Saturday||4 p.m.||Men’s, Women’s 1500m||USA | STREAM LINK|
|Sunday||12:30 p.m.||Highlights||NBC | Peacock | STREAM LINK|
|5:30 p.m.||Men’s, Women’s Mass Start||USA | STREAM LINK|
*Correction: An earlier version of this post misreported the number of Olympic spots the U.S. has. It is seven men and five women. It also misreported Kilburg’s standing in the mass start. She leads the mass start standings but is not mathematically guaranteed to win the mass start series.
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