Speed skater Brittany Bowe breaks own track record, makes third Olympic team


Although Brittany Bowe was confident she’d win the 1000m at the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials, beating a certain skater’s time was a bonus.

That would be Brittany Bowe circa 2019.

Breaking her own track record, Bowe proved why she is queen of the 1000m. She glided to her third straight Olympic team Thursday evening at the famous Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee.

And Bowe wasn’t even peaking for the trials. She is training through the event, saving her best for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics next month.

“It’s always fun to get a track record,” Bowe said, “and with the track record being mine, to say I went fastest in this building than I ever have in my life is a pretty big confidence booster going into Beijing.”

The reigning world champion and world record holder in the event was initially pushed by speedy Erin Jackson, the top female skater in the world this year at 500 meters. But Bowe easily pulled ahead to win with a time of 1:13.63, slicing .13 off that track record, while Jackson came in at 1:15.88.

That gave Kimi Goetz, skating in a later pair, room to move into second place with a time of 1:14.89.

While Bowe is assured of going to Beijing, Goetz will have to wait to find out her fate. Team USA has a maximum of five women’s berths in Beijing. If athletes double, Goetz has a good chance to move onto the team.


All three athletes will skate the 500 on Friday for two spots. A third is a possibility later if another country relinquishes a berth.

Bowe, 33, said she and Jackson had never been paired together in a 1000 until the trials.

“We were joking with each other before the race,” Bowe said. “I told her I’d have to to give her a taste of her own medicine of what she’ll probably give me tomorrow in the 500.”

Bowe was the first of the Florida Flyers to make the Olympic long track team. Bowe, Joey Mantia and Jackson are from Ocala where they were inline skaters before transferring to the ice. All are World Cup champions and were a threat to make the podium all season.

Bowe, who is also a former college basketball player, is an Olympic medal contender in the 1500, too. That race is Saturday.

She said she knew that “if I just skate solid, I should be in a good position to make the Olympic team. But again it is the Olympic Trials and you get one shot, so there’s definitely nerves and excitement there. To get this first one out of the way and have a smooth, solid race is great to get the weekend started.”

Despite coming off a concussion, Bowe won her lone Olympic medal – a bronze in team pursuit in 2018 for the only U.S. long track speed skating medal in PyeongChang. She also placed fourth in the 1000 and fifth in both the 500 and 1500. Being so close to the podium made her want an individual medal even more.

“I feel mentally and physically really strong,” Bowe said. “I hope I’m not peaked right this second. We still have about a month left of training and preparation, and to have that kind of performance at the end of what was a three-week training cycle, is pretty encouraging.”

However, Bowe was disappointed that her performance could be watched by friends, family and fans solely on television. Because of the rise in Covid-19 cases, US Speedskating decided not to allow spectators.

“It’s heartbreaking, but you understand at the same time,” Bowe said. “With us flying across the country to come here and compete, we’re playing Russian roulette every single day. You can take all the precautions, wash your hands, you can wear a mask and somehow you can still get Covid.”

She added that everyone has to control what they can. “I think it was the right move and the right call with US Speedskating and the Pettit to make that decision,” Bowe said.

Goetz counted herself lucky that her boyfriend, three-time Olympian Mitch Whitmore, and her sister, Samantha, who works for US Speedskating, were at the Pettit Center.

“I have almost felt really guilty for my friends and teammates that don’t have their loved ones here, but we have each other,” she said. “Brittany and Mitch were teammates not that long ago. I know he’s cheering for her just as much as he is for for me. Everyone has support here; I just was a little spoiled with having a little extra.”

For the 27-year-old Goetz, making the Olympic team is overdue. She was a top contender for the 2018 team – but in short track speed skating. On the first day of the trials, Goetz fell during a warmup, hit her head and was diagnosed with a concussion.

That ended her short track Olympic hopes. Leery of falling and no longer enjoying the sport, Goetz decided to switch to long track in August 2018.

“Four years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that what had happened at short track trials was a good thing,” Goetz said, “but had it not happened, I never would have switched to long track and this is definitely where I’m meant to be.

“I’m happier, which is the most important thing, and I’m performing better — just really happy with the transition over the last four years.”

Within two years of her move, Goetz had the highest finishes by any U.S. woman – including Bowe – at the 2020 World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships.

“She’s been skating unbelievable and she’s one of the fastest girls I’ve ever trained with in my life,” said Bowe, who trains with Goetz outside Salt Lake City. “She can throw down some really fast times in training and when she connects every single one of those pieces in a race she’s going to be the one to beat.

“She’s one to look out for in the future for sure.”

“That was very nice of Brittany,” Goetz said. “I definitely feel like I am still better in training than I am in racing, which is frustrating. I have a lot to work on — off the start seems to be the disconnect for me.”

In addition to working on her start, Goetz is also getting accustomed to sea level. She trains at altitude in Utah, but Milwaukee is giving her experience she’ll need in Beijing. Goetz also has been wearing a T-shirt in training to simulate sea-level conditions where there is more air resistance.

That meant that on Thursday, the Flemington, New Jersey, native also was racing more against herself than anyone else.

“Obviously, Brittany Bowe is the best in the world and I want to be as close as I can to her,” Goetz said, “but I feel like at sea-level rinks I’m learning how to execute races.”

Goetz said she had different points in the race where she wanted to attack, hoping those segments would carry her into at least second place.

“I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be first,” she said, “but that’s OK.”

Karen Rosen, who has covered every summer and winter Olympics since 1992, is a special contributor to NBCSports.com.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Chloe Kim, Elana Meyers Taylor among Olympians to join presidential sports council

Elana Meyers Taylor, President Joe Biden

Chloe Kim and Elana Meyers Taylor are among the Olympic and Paralympic medalists set to join the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, & Nutrition.

President Joe Biden intends to appoint the snowboarder Kim, bobsledder Meyers Taylor, retired Olympic medalists Chaunté Lowe (track and field) and Tamika Catchings (basketball) and Paralympic medalist Melissa Stockwell (triathlon) to the council, among other athletes and people in the health and fitness fields, it was announced Friday.

Stephen and Ayesha Curry are also on the list.

The council “aims to promote healthy, accessible eating and physical activity for all Americans, regardless of background or ability.”

Last year, Biden appointed basketball gold medalist Elena Delle Donne a co-chair of the council.

Kim, the two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion, sat out this past season but is expected to return to competition for a third Olympic run in 2026.

Meyers Taylor, the most decorated U.S. Olympic bobsledder in history with medals in all five of her Olympic events, sat out this past season due to pregnancy. She took her first bobsled run in 13 months this past week in Lake Placid, New York.

There is a long history of Olympians and Paralympians serving on the council, which was created in 1956.

In 2017, Barack Obama appointed medalists including gymnast Gabby Douglas, soccer player Carli Lloyd and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Others to previously be on the council include sprinter Allyson Felix, figure skater Michelle Kwan and swimmer and triathlete Brad Snyder.

Members serve for two years and can be reappointed.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Kaori Sakamoto wins figure skating worlds; top American places fourth


Kaori Sakamoto overcame a late error in her free skate to become the first Japanese figure skater to win back-to-back world titles and the oldest women’s world champion since 2014.

Sakamoto, 22, totaled 224.61 points on home ice in Saitama to prevail by 3.67 over Lee Hae-In of South Korea in the closest women’s finish at worlds since 2011.

Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx took bronze, edging 16-year-old American Isabeau Levito for a medal by 2.77 points.

Sakamoto is the oldest women’s singles world champion since Mao Asada (2014), who is now the only Japanese skater with more world titles than Sakamoto.

She appeared en route to an easier victory until singling a planned triple flip late in her free skate, which put the gold in doubt. She can be thankful for pulling off the second jump of that planned combination — a triple toe loop — and her 5.62-point lead from Wednesday’s short program.

“I feel so pathetic and thought, what was all that hard work I put into my training?” Sakamoto said of her mistake, according to the International Skating Union (ISU). “But I was able to refocus and do my best till the end.

“Because I have this feeling of regret at the biggest event of the season, I want to make sure I don’t have this feeling next season. So I want to practice even harder, and I want to make sure to do clean, perfect performances at every competition.”

Lee, who had the top free skate, became the second South Korean to win a world medal in any discipline after six-time medalist Yuna Kim.

Hendrickx followed her silver from last year, when she became the first Belgian women’s singles skater to win a world medal.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Levito, last year’s world junior champion, had a chance to become the youngest senior world medalist since 2014.

After a solid short program, she fell on her opening triple Lutz in the free skate and left points on the table by performing two jump combinations rather than three. The Lutz was planned to be the first half of a combination with a triple loop.

“I am severely disappointed because I’ve been nailing my Lutz-loop for a really long time, and this is the first time I’ve messed it up in a while, and of course it had to be when it actually counted,” Levito said, according to the ISU. “But I’m pretty happy with myself for just trying to move past it and focusing on making the most out of the rest of the program.”

Levito entered worlds ranked fourth in the field by best score this season. She matched the best finish for a U.S. woman in her senior global championships debut (Olympics and worlds) since Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan took silver and bronze at the 1991 Worlds. Sasha Cohen, to whom Levito is often compared, also placed fourth in her Olympic and world debuts in 2002.

“I feel very proud for myself and grateful for my coaching team for helping me get this far so far in my skating career, and I’m just very proud to be where I am,” Levito said on USA Network.

American Amber Glenn was 12th in her world debut. Two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell was 15th. They had been 10th and eighth, respectively, in the short program.

The U.S. qualified two women’s spots for next year’s worlds rather than the maximum three because the top two Americans’ results added up to more than 13 (Levito’s fourth plus Glenn’s 12th equaled 16). The U.S. was in position to qualify three spots after the short program.

Glenn said after the short program that she had a very difficult two weeks before worlds, including “out-of-nowhere accidents and coincidences that could have prevented me from being here,” and boot problems that affected her triple Axel. She attempted a triple Axel in the free skate, spinning out of an under-rotated, two-footed landing.

Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022, had several jumping errors in the free skate.

“This season has been like one thing after another,” said the 25-year-old Tennell, who plans to compete through the 2026 Winter Games. “I’m really excited to get back and work on some stuff for the new season.”

Earlier, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates topped the rhythm dance, starting their bid for a first world title in their 12th season together and after three prior world silver or bronze medals.

“We skated as best we possibly could today,” Bates said, according to the ISU, after they tallied the world’s top score this season.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the lone U.S. ice dancers to win a world title, doing so in 2011 and 2013.

Worlds continue Friday night (U.S. time) with the free dance, followed Saturday morning with the men’s free skate, live on Peacock and USA Network.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!