Kimi Goetz Charges Into New World Cup Season With Five Medals In Obihiro
by Paul D. Bowker
U.S. speed skaters captured an impressive nine individual medals and two team medals this past weekend in Obihiro, Japan, with Olympic teammates Kimi Goetz and Jordan Stolz opening the 2023-24 World Cup season winning a combined eight medals.
Goetz is the first woman to win five World Cup medals in one weekend since Heather Bergsma (née Richardson) at the 2013 World Cup in Salt Lake City, UT. Goetz reached the podium in all four individual races she started and won her first career World Cup 500m race.
She finished off the weekend by teaming up with Conor McDermott-Mostowy to win a Bronze medal in the World Cup debut of the Mixed Team Relay on Sunday.
“We had a lot of fun trying out the new event,” McDermott-Mostowy said. “There are definitely some kinks that need to be worked out with the event, but it was a fun first run and winning is always better with a teammate.”
Goetz got things going by winning the first Women’s 500m on Friday with a time of 37.82 seconds, skating in the final pairing of the event and bumping teammate and 2022 Olympic champion Erin Jackson to second place at 37.89 seconds.
“The 1000m is still my main focus,” Goetz said. “But you’ve got to have some speed to be good in the 1000m, and we’ve been working a lot on my 1000m opener. That’s helping with the 500m opener, too.”
A little more than an hour after winning the 500m, Goetz finished third in the 1000m. She added two more Bronze medals Saturday in the 1500m and second 500m. The podium finish in the 1500m was her first in that event in World Cup competition. She had a time of 1:56.56 in the 1500m, trailing winner Miho Takagi of Japan by 2.02 seconds.
“I am thrilled to win my first 1500m World Cup medal today,” Goetz said. “We’ve put a little more focus on the 1500 this summer, so it’s exciting to see that I’ve made some improvements in this distance. Hoping to continue building some momentum throughout these next World Cups to try and close the gap between first place.”
Stolz, the reigning World Champion at three distances, medaled in all of them in Obihiro. He captured the Silver medal in the Men’s 1500m with a time of 1:45.59, trailing winner Masaya Yamada of Japan by just 0.02 seconds. Stolz also won Bronze medals in the 1000m and second 500m.
“I felt like I was still going strong at the end of the race,” Stolz said after finishing the 500m with a time of 34.94 seconds, moving up three spots from his sixth-place finish in the opening 500m. “Today I felt a bit more comfortable on the ice.”
Stolz finished the weekend by placing 14th in the 5000m. He was the only men’s skater to race at all four distances.
“It was amazing to be on the podium today,” McDermott-Mostowy said. “We went into the race knowing that it was going to be hard fought, and with trying out a new order we didn’t know what to expect. Safe to say we rose to the challenge and exceeded our initial expectations.”
The other U.S. medalist was Mia Manganello Kilburg, who finished third in the Women’s Mass Start. She had a time of 8:25.58.
Among other notable U.S. finishes, Sarah Warren earned her first B podium with a second-place finish in the Women’s 500m and then made it to the A Group in the second 500m. She finished 19th.
“Making it onto my first B Group podium and earning my first promotion into A Group really made all the tough days and hard training sessions feel worth it,” Warren said. “I truly have the best support system around me, from my family to my coaches and teammates, and the podium today made me so thankful for them. I want to carry this confidence into the rest of the circuit and continue to step up in the big moments and really focus on just having fun and skating fast.”
The World Cup circuit moves to Beijing for the second stop on Nov. 17-19.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to USSpeedskating.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.