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U.S. Skaters Capture 13 Medals On Home Ice In Four Continents Championships

by Paul D. Bowker

Jordan Stolz blazed through his final lap to set a National Record in the Men’s 1000m Sunday, providing a final victory in a medal-filled weekend for U.S. skaters at the ISU Four Continents Championships held on home ice in Kearns, Utah.


Olympic teammates Erin Jackson and Kimi Goetz finished one-two in the Women’s 500m. Meanwhile, Casey Dawson earned his first individual medal on an international stage with a win in the Men’s 5000m; he also joined Emery Lehman and Ethan Cepuran for a win in the Men’s Team Pursuit.


In total, American skaters captured 13 medals, including in three of the four team events.


Joining the medal parade was Greta Myers, who won her first senior international medal Friday by capturing a Bronze medal in the Women’s 1500m and then joined with Giorgia Birkeland and Anna Quinn to win a Bronze medal in the Women’s Team Pursuit.

“It’s a really big deal,” Myers said. “It’s a big steppingstone to achieving bigger things in the future. So I’m really excited for what’s to come.”


Also winning her first individual international medal was Birkeland, who finished second to capture a Silver medal in the Women’s Mass Start.


The competition featured three days of individual and team competition at the Utah Olympic Oval, host of the Olympic Winter Games in 2002 and host of the next World Cup competition on Jan. 26-28.


“It’s fantastic. It’s really good,” said Mia Manganello, who won a Silver medal in the Women’s 1500m and a Bronze medal in the 3000m. “This is the first race we’ve had in quite some time since World Cup Four, so it feels like I’m starting all over again, like getting back into race mode.”


Cutting through the final lap of the Men’s 1000m with precision on the final day, Stolz, the reigning World Champion at that distance and two others, won the race in 1:06.27. That time beat his previous personal best by 0.2 seconds and broke a U.S. record and former world record of 1:06.42 that was set by four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis in 2009, also in Kearns.


“Wow, I’m happy about it,” said Stolz, who was coached by Davis when he was a junior. “I just attacked with everything I could.”


Jackson, the reigning Olympic Champion, answered a strong start by Goetz in the Women’s 500m and edged her at the finish with a season-best time of 36.82 seconds, just 0.11 seconds ahead of Goetz with a personal-best time of 36.93 seconds.


“I think it’s awesome,” Jackson said. “I always said, the sooner we can get like a podium sweep, then we can really battle out among ourselves. We’re always pushing each other.”


In the first World Cup event of the season, Goetz led Jackson to the finish line in another one-two American finish in the 500m. Jackson has won at 500m four times this season, including three World Cup races.


Goetz added a Silver medal and another personal best in the 1000m, finishing with a time of 1:12.65 and just 0.3 seconds behind Japan’s Miho Takagi.


Jackson teamed up with three-time Olympian Brittany Bowe and Sarah Warren to win a Silver medal in the Women’s Team Sprint and set a new National Record time.


“To be with Erin and Brittany, obviously it’s always been a dream of mine,” Warren said. “I kind of had to get rid of the jitters more than usual.”


Dawson won his first Four Continents medal in a Men’s 5000m race that was decided by just .02 seconds. He finished in a time of 6:14.14, .02 seconds ahead of Canada’s Graeme Fish and .08 seconds ahead of Canada’s Ted-Jan Bloemen.


“It was insanely close,” Dawson said. “I knew it was going to be close. I knew it was going to be really close to Graeme’s time.”

“This was my second fastest 5K ever,” he added, “so I’m pretty excited about that.”


In addition to winning the Team Pursuit, Lehman captured a Silver medal in the Men’s 1500m with a time of 1:44.03.


“It was one of my fastest openers, so that was nice,” Lehman said. “I’ve been trying to get my first 700 faster. Now if I can put together the first half of this race with the back half of other races I’ve had this year, I think I can skate really well at World Cup Five.”

Lehman is setting the bar high for the upcoming World Cup competition at the Utah Olympic Oval.

“Personal best,” he said. “Personal best in 1500, personal best in Team Pursuit with the guys, I think would be a good one.”


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.

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