Stolz And U.S. Men’s Team Pursuit Skaters Set World Records In Salt Lake World Cup
by Paul D. Bowker
Home ice and a home crowd in Salt Lake City was the perfect storm for U.S. long track speed skaters this past weekend.
Jordan Stolz set a World Record in the Men’s 1000m and U.S. Records in the 500m and 1500m, while Casey Dawson, Ethan Cepuran and Emery Lehman reclaimed a World Record in the Men’s Team Pursuit. In total Stolz won four Gold medals, capturing victories at three distances, and leading a U.S. medal haul of 10 at the fifth World Cup stop of the season.
U.S. skaters have won 38 medals in five World Cup events this season. The World Cup weekend concluded two weeks of racing at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns. The U.S. won 23 medals in that time, including four Gold medals and 13 overall at the Four Continents Championships, Jan. 19-21.
Stolz, a 2022 Olympian who is the reigning World Champion at 500m, 1000m and 1500m, won those distances in Salt Lake (including twice at 1000m) and placed 15th in the 5000m.
After winning the opening 1000m race Friday with a blistering World-Record time of 1:05.37, Stolz was stunned when he saw the time on the clock. He pumped both of his arms above his head as the spectators at the Olympic Oval rocked the arena with cheers.
“I knew I was going fast on it,” Stolz said. “I just wanted to go fast enough to maybe get close to the World Record.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he added. “It still looks weird looking at it.”
Stolz added another win Sunday in the 1000m, this time in 1:06.32. On Saturday, he won Gold twice and set a pair of U.S. Records, claiming the 1500m in 1:40.87 and the 500m in 33.96 seconds. He missed a World Record in the 1500m by .70 seconds.
On Saturday, Dawson, Cepuran and Lehman not only clinched the World Cup Overall Title in the Men’s Team Pursuit, but they reset a World Record that Norway had taken away from the U.S. less than a month ago. The Americans won in 3:33.66, defeating their race pair Norway by nearly two seconds.
“Being on home ice, the adrenaline, everything, all those factors combined allowed us to have a race that connected perfectly throughout the eight laps,” Dawson said. “And 3:33.66 at the end of the race, it was awesome to do that.”
Lehman said he had trouble getting through lunch and was coughing through the warm-ups. But when race time arrived, everything changed.
“Going out there and skating that fast,” Lehman said, “it was a total surprise.”
The U.S. topped Norway’s World Record by .56 seconds.
Jackson’s win in the Women’s race gave the U.S. a sweep at 500m. Jackson and Goetz finished one-two at that distance for the second straight week with times of 36.90 and 37.08 seconds, respectively.
“I was just hoping to get off the line cleanly, nice and smooth,” Jackson said.
That almost happened. At the start of the race, Jackson’s eyewear dropped down.
“That was a little distracting,” said Jackson, who won at 500m for the fourth time this season in World Cup starts. “Other than that, I thought like the race was clean.”
Goetz medaled in both Women’s 1000m races, capturing the Silver medal in Friday’s opener and then winning Sunday’s race in 1:13.08, defeating the Netherlands’ Jutta Leerdam by .09 seconds. Goetz, who lost to Japan’s Miho Takagi in the first 1000m race, took over the top spot in the World Cup 1000m rankings. Takagi did not race Sunday.
“Good to win, but I wish Miho skated. I like to win when everybody’s here and everybody’s at their best,” said Goetz, who added a seventh-place finish in the 1500m.
Three-time Olympian Brittany Bowe teamed up with Mia Manganello and Giorgia Birkeland for a Bronze medal in the Women’s Team Pursuit. Bowe nearly made the podium in two other races, finishing fourth in the 1000m twice.
“It’s been frustrating. Always gunning for that top position, but trying to remain positive and stick with my plan,” Bowe said. “I’ve got to get that first lap faster.”
Conor McDermott-Mostowy posted a personal-best time of 1:06.91 in the Men’s 1000m and finished fifth. With this time, he became the fourth U.S. male to ever go sub 1:07.00 in the 1000m. Cooper McLeod placed a career best sixth in the Men’s 500m with a personal-best time of 34.24 seconds, a race in which four of the top seven finishers posted personal bests.
Lehman and Chrysta Rands-Evans finished seventh in the Mixed Relay.
The World Cup resumes for the final World Cup of the 2023-24 season next weekend, Feb. 2-4, in Quebec City, Quebec.
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.