Meet the U.S. Olympic speed skating team that could win its most medals in 16 years

2022 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Long Track Speedskating
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The 12-member U.S. long track speed skating team going to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics has the potential to bring home its most medals since 2006.

Even one individual medal or two overall would be the best Team USA performance since 2010.

Call them the Determined Dozen.

“I’ve been around for a while, and it’s one of the strongest teams I’ve ever witnessed,” said Mia Manganello Kilburg, who made her second Olympic team.

Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia will be three-time Olympians and both endured the disappointment of 2014 – with no medals – and 2018, when the women’s team pursuit squad captured the lone bronze.

Now Bowe, 33, is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 1000m, the event in which she is the reigning world champion and world record holder. She is also ranked No. 2 in the 1500. The one piece missing in Bowe’s distinguished career is an Olympic podium in an individual event after she contributed to the team pursuit bronze four years ago. Bowe placed fourth in the 1000 and fifth in both the 500 and 1500 in PyeongChang in the aftermath of a concussion that affected her training.

Mantia is No. 1 in the world in the 1500, a three-time world champion in mass start, and is also the leader of the world-record-holding men’s team pursuit squad. In addition, he’ll skate the 1000, the event in which he finished fourth in 2018. So, that makes Mantia, who will celebrate his 36th birthday during the Games, a legitimate medal hope in three events.

And then there’s Erin Jackson, who is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 500 as she heads to her second Games. She owes her spot on this Olympic team to Bowe, her good friend who generously gave up her own 500m berth. Jackson, 29, had a rare mid-race slip during last week’s U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials and finished behind Bowe and Kimi Goetz.

The U.S. only has two guaranteed quota spots in the event. However, Team USA could be awarded a third position later due to a reallocation from other nations, which would put Bowe in the field.

The wild card is Jordan Stolz, who at age 17 is the third-youngest athlete in history make the U.S. men’s long track team. He set track records at Milwaukee’s Pettit National Ice Center in both the 500 and 1000. If Stolz continues the improvement he has shown over the World Cup season – setting the American record in the 500 and the world junior records in the 500 and the 1000 – he could be in the hunt for a medal.

“It’s no secret that a few of us have had a ton of success on the World Cup and world level and have just fallen short at the Games,” said Bowe. “And we’re well aware of that. Having success early (on the World Cup circuit) has definitely helped our confidence and momentum, and to have some newcomers like Erin and Jordan and then the team pursuit team has just raised the excitement level.”

Bowe, Mantia and Jackson are all former inline skaters from Ocala, Florida, who parlayed their astounding success on wheels into new careers on blades.

Bowe has won 11 medals at the World Single Distances Championships from 2013 through 2021, including four golds. She is the reigning champion in the 1000, winning three golds in that event and also won the 1500 in 2015. In addition, she has a staggering 75 World Cup medals, including 33 golds, 25 silvers and 17 bronzes (36 medals in the 1000, 24 in the 1500, 14 in the 500 and one in team pursuit).

Mantia has won three world championship golds in mass start as well as a bronze in the 1500 at the 2020 World Championships in Salt Lake City. He has won 22 World Cup medals, including eight golds, five of those in the 1500. Mantia won 14 medals in the 1500, five in mass start, one in team pursuit and two in team sprint, which is not an Olympic event.

He has eliminated all distractions in what he said will be his last Olympic campaign. “It’s really nice to have the entire team on the men and women’s side really step up and be in contention across the board,” Mantia said.

In addition to Bowe and Jackson on the women’s team, Goetz, a first-time Olympian after missing out on the 2018 Games as a short-track competitor, will race the 500 and 1000 while Manganello Kilburg, 32, will race the 1500 and mass start and could possibly also contest the 3000 since she is the first reserve. Giorgia Birkeland, another Olympic rookie at age 19, will fill the other mass start position.

Mantia and Stolz will be joined on the men’s team by now three-time Olympian Emery Lehman, 25, in the 1500 and team pursuit and new Olympians Ethan Cepuran, 21, in the 5000 and team pursuit; Austin Kleba, 22, in the 500; Casey Dawson, 21, in the 5000 and team pursuit and Ian Quinn, 28, in mass start.

In 2014, Lehman became the youngest man to compete for Team USA in long track speed skating at age 17 years, 240 days – surpassing by two days the legendary Eric Heiden, who was making his first Olympic appearance in 1976. Heiden, of course, went on to sweep the five men’s gold medals in 1980.

Stolz will be 17 years and 267 days when he goes to the starting line for the 500 on Feb. 12. He is the American record holder in that event, but thinks his best chance is in the 1000, where he hopes to break into the top five. That would be a higher finish than either Heiden or Lehman at that age.

In 2010, Team USA won four medals – one gold, two silvers and a bronze – all on the men’s side (Shani Davis, Chad Hedrick and team pursuit).

Four years earlier, in Torino, the men’s team also won all of the U.S. medals, finishing with seven overall and tying the Netherlands with three golds by Joey Cheek, Davis and Hedrick.

That means this could be the most balanced U.S. effort in 20 years, when the Americans won eight medals in Salt Lake City in 2002, tying the Netherlands and Germany. All three nations had three golds. The men won two gold – Casey FitzRandolph in the 500 and Derek Parra in the 1500, one silver (Parra in the 5000) and two bronze medals (Kip Carpenter in the 500 and Cheek in the 1000) while Chris Witty won a gold in the women’s 1000 and Jennifer Rodriguez captured bronze medals in the 1000 and 1500.

If Jackson, who was the first Black woman to make a U.S. Olympic long track team in 2018, wins the 500m gold, she would be the first American woman to reach the top of the podium in that event since Bonnie Blair won three straight from 1988-1994.

Team USA has not medaled in the men’s 500 since Cheek’s gold in 2006. In the 1000, the last medals were won by Davis (gold) and Hedrick (bronze) in 2010, while Davis’ silver in the 1500 in Vancouver was the last men’s medal in that event.

In team pursuit, the Americans have pioneered a technique in which Mantia leads the way for the entire race instead of the three skaters switching off. This has saved time and energy.

In a bit of a twist, after making the podium in 2018, the U.S. women will not compete in team pursuit for the first time since the event was added to the Olympic program in 2006.

Bowe said that while “racking up medals” this World Cup season has brought Team USA a lot of “camaraderie, fun and excitement,” the skaters will all try to stay safe as they prepare for Beijing.

“With me, Kimi and Erin in the top 10, going for medals every single time we get on the ice has been really fun,” Bowe said. “Outside of the rink, as much as we love each other, we still keep to ourselves a little bit.”

She said just going to hang out at a teammate’s house could put them in jeopardy of being a close contact or testing positive for Covid-19. “It’s like you can’t trust anybody as cautious as everyone’s been at this time,” Bowe said. “It’s been weird, but it’s been awesome and really fun to cheer each other on.”

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

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw

At the French Open, a Ukrainian mom makes her comeback


Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, once the world’s third-ranked tennis player, is into the French Open third round in her first major tournament since childbirth.

Svitolina, 28, swept 2022 French Open semifinalist Martina Trevisan of Italy, then beat Australian qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the last 32 at Roland Garros. She next plays 56th-ranked Russian Anna Blinkova, who took out the top French player, fifth seed Caroline Garcia, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 on her ninth match point.

Svitolina’s husband, French player Gael Monfils, finished his first-round five-set win after midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. She watched that match on a computer before going to sleep ahead of her 11 a.m. start Wednesday.

“This morning, he told me, ‘I’m coming to your match, so make it worth it,'” she joked on Tennis Channel. “I was like, OK, no pressure.

“I don’t know what he’s doing here now. He should be resting.”

Also Wednesday, 108th-ranked Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis ousted three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in four and a half hours. Wawrinka’s exit leaves Novak Djokovic as the lone man in the draw who has won the French Open and Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz as the lone men left who have won any major.

The top seed Alcaraz beat 112th-ranked Taro Daniel of Japan 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. The Spaniard gets 26th seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada in the third round. Djokovic, the No. 3 seed, swept 83rd-ranked Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (2), 6-0, 6-3 to reach a third-round date with 29th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Svitolina made at least one major quarterfinal every year from 2017 through 2021, including the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2019. She married Monfils one week before the Tokyo Olympics, then won a singles bronze medal.

Svitolina played her last match before maternity leave on March 24, 2022, one month after Russia invaded her country. She gave birth to daughter Skai on Oct. 15.

Svitolina returned to competition in April. Last week, she won the tournament preceding the French Open, sweeping Blinkova to improve to 17-3 in her career in finals. She’s playing on a protected ranking of 27th after her year absence and, now, on a seven-match win streak.

“It was always in my head the plan to come back, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself, because obviously with the war going on, with the pregnancy, you never know how complicated it will go,” she said. “I’m as strong as I was before, maybe even stronger, because I feel that I can handle the work that I do off the court, and match by match I’m getting better. Also mentally, because mental can influence your physicality, as well.”

Svitolina said she’s motivated by goals to attain before she retires from the sport and to help Ukraine, such as donating her prize money from last week’s title in Strasbourg.

“These moments bring joy to people of Ukraine, to the kids as well, the kids who loved to play tennis before the war, and now maybe they don’t have the opportunity,” she said. “But these moments that can motivate them to look on the bright side and see these good moments and enjoy themselves as much as they can in this horrible situation.”

Svitolina was born in Odesa and has lived in Kharkiv, two cities that have been attacked by Russia.

“I talk a lot with my friends, with my family back in Ukraine, and it’s a horrible thing, but they are used to it now,” she said. “They are used to the alarms that are on. As soon as they hear something, they go to the bomb shelters. Sleepless nights. You know, it’s a terrible thing, but they tell me that now it’s a part of their life, which is very, very sad.”

Svitolina noted that she plays with a flag next to her name — unlike the Russians and Belarusians, who are allowed to play as neutral athletes.

“When I step on the court, I just try to think about the fighting spirit that all of us Ukrainians have and how Ukrainians are fighting for their values, for their freedom in Ukraine,” she said, “and me, I’m fighting here on my own front line.”

Svitolina said that she’s noticed “a lot of rubbish” concerning how tennis is reacting to the war.

“We have to focus on what the main point of what is going on,” she said. “Ukrainian people need help and need support. We are focusing on so many things like empty words, empty things that are not helping the situation, not helping anything.

“I want to invite everyone to focus on helping Ukrainians. That’s the main point of this, to help kids, to help women who lost their husbands because they are at the war, and they are fighting for Ukraine.

“You can donate. Couple of dollars might help and save lives. Or donate your time to something to help people.”

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