Stolz Captures Another Four Gold Medals In World Cup Season Finale
by Paul D. Bowker
Jordan Stolz won four Gold medals at three distances for the second consecutive week and set two Track Records in the final long track World Cup event of the season over the weekend in Quebec City, Quebec.
Meanwhile, Olympic Champion Erin Jackson added a Bronze Medal in the Women’s 500m to win the World Cup Overall Title at that distance, while Austin Kleba, Cooper McLeod and Zach Stoppelmoor clinched the season Overall Title in the Men’s Team Sprint with a Bronze medal finish Sunday, the first U.S. team to do so.
“We are stoked,” Stoppelmoor said.
The U.S. increased its World Cup 2023-24 season medals total to 44.
Stolz, who is the reigning World Champion in the Men’s 500m, 1000m and 1500m, became the first American to win four World Cup Gold medals in consecutive weeks. He also won a Gold medal in the 1000m at the ISU Four Continents Championships the week prior. Included in those wins was a World Record, three American Records and the two Track Records in Quebec City.
The wins carry Stolz into the ISU World Speed Skating Single Distances Championships, Feb. 15-18 in Calgary, Alberta, with strong momentum.
“I hope I can hold on in two weeks in my condition,” Stolz said. “If I can get through the next 10 days good, I should be ready for Calgary.”
Stolz did not win any Overall World Cup season championships, but mostly because he did not compete in one of the season stops in Beijing, China. He still finished as the season runner-up in the 1000m and 1500m — missing out on the lead by three and four points, respectively — while finishing fourth in the 500m.
“I wonder what my place would be if I didn’t skip a World Cup,” Stolz said after winning the 1000m with a time of 1:07.96, missing a Track Record by just .02 seconds in an event in which he already holds the World Record.
Stolz won the 1500m in a time of 1:44.01, smashing the track record by more than a half second and defeating Ning Zhongyan of China by .78 seconds.
“I tried to open up a bit faster this time,” Stolz said. “First lap, I attacked it harder.”
He also won the 500m twice, including setting a Track Record in the second race with a time of 34.36 seconds Sunday.
“I didn’t expect it,” Stolz said. “I think it’s my fastest opener in a race (first lap of 9.5 seconds). I was just trying to skate with good technique and keep it together. I was feeling a little tired from the other races.”
Kleba, McLeod and Stoppelmoor medaled for the third time this season in the Men’s Team Sprint. They finished third behind Poland and Norway to win the Bronze medal, capturing the season title with previous first- and second-place finishes.
“I think it was a pretty good race,” McLeod said. “The Polish team, they all had themselves a fantastic day, getting a couple of 500m medals for the first time this season, and the Norwegians are always good. We set our National Record by half a second, so we can’t complain.”
Jackson medaled for the seventh time this season in the Women’s 500m, needing her third-place finish in the second race of the weekend to clinch the 500m Overall World Cup Championship. She edged Kim Min-sun of South Korea by eight points after Kim won Saturday’s race and finished second ahead of Jackson on Sunday.
“I like it. I like to drag race to the finish,” Jackson said. “I’d like to be on the better side of it, of course, but I always enjoy a drag race.”
Jackson said she hurt her back on the way to Canada.
“On the travel here, I aggravated my back, which has been amazing all season, but I have some herniated discs,” she said. “On the way here, I aggravated that a little bit and I’ve just been trying to get it back to normal. Each day was getting better and better, so I’m pretty happy that it should be good to go next week.”
Brittany Bowe, a three-time Olympian and six-time World Champion, nearly medaled in the Women’s 1000m, but she finished fourth with a time of 1:16.16 in a race that saw winner Miho Takagi of Japan setting a Track Record. Bowe finished third in the season standings behind Takagi and U.S. teammate Kimi Goetz.
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.