Four Skaters To Represent Team USA At Olympic Mass Start Debut
by US Speedskating
MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – The U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Long Track concluded today at the Pettit National Ice Center. Heather Bergsma (High Point, N.C.) and Joey Mantia (Ocala, Fla.) finished atop the Mass Start rankings and earned the top qualification spots in their respective events, while Mia Manganello (Crestview, Fla.) and Brian Hansen (Glenview, Ill.) claimed the second qualification spots in each gender.
The Mass Start final rankings were determined by using points from three Mass Start races. Two of the races were skated at the 2017-18 Fall World Cup Qualifiers, and the final race was skated at U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Both Bergsma and Mantia won the first two races that were skated at Fall World Cup Qualifiers.
Maria Lamb (St. Paul, Minn.) broke away from the pack with 11 laps to go and held on to win the women’s Mass Start race. After the three combined Mass Starts, Lamb missed a qualifying spot in the event, finishing behind Bergsma and Manganello who finished second and third, respectively, in the final race.
Bergsma will be heading to her third Olympic Games, leading the U.S. women by qualifying in four distances – the 500m, 1000m, 1500m and Mass Start.
“Anything can happen at the Olympic Games, that’s why it is so exciting to watch,” said Bergsma. “I have four chances (to get a medal) and I’m going to do my best at all four.”
Manganello is now qualified for two Olympic distances, as she claimed a spot in the women’s 1500m on the fifth day of competition.
“After yesterday, today was much more relaxing,” stated Manganello. “I enjoyed this race so much. I knew that if I just stayed on my feet and raced the way I could that I would get another distance.”
On the men’s side, Hansen secured his second distance at the Olympics by winning today’s Mass Start. The Olympic silver medalist made the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team the night before when he qualified for the 1500m.
“I’m happy that I was able to pull out the win, and I’m happy to be representing the U.S. at the Olympics in this race, because hopefully I can do something good,” said Hansen. “It’s just one race that you never know what’s going to happen.”
Mantia just needed to finish the race to punch his ticket as the top spot in the men’s Mass Start standings. He ended up fifth overall and will be racing in three distances at the Winter Games – the 1000m, 1500m and Mass Start.
“Every time I step on the ice I want to win, but today I just knew that I needed to finish,” stated Mantia. “That was a big stress-free situation for me. I really wanted to let those guys race it out.”
The Ocala native is going to his second Olympic Games and is the only man on the U.S. team to qualify for three distances.
Emery Lehman (Oak Park, Ill.) was named as the men’s Team Pursuit specialist at the conclusion of racing when it was finalized that the U.S. men would not reach their maximum quota of eight spots. This is Lehman’s second Olympic Games, as he skated in the men’s 5000m and 10000m in Sochi.
“I’ve been on pins and needles. You never really know until the weekend is over, especially with how racing goes,” said Lehman. “I knew I still had to come out and race really well, I had to leave it up to US Speedskating to make the decision.”
With the conclusion of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, the long track Olympic team will have a week before they return to the Pettit National Ice Center for a two-week Olympic Training Camp, which will be held from Jan. 15-30.
For results, post-race interviews and other media information, visit the US Speedskating Media Page.
The entire U.S. Olympic Long Track Speedskating Team will be formally named at the conclusion of the week’s races and will consist of a maximum of eight men and eight women skaters, subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be held in South Korea from February 9-25, 2018. Both Long and Short Track will be held in the Gangneung coastal cluster with all Olympic competitions for Long Track Speedskating to be held at the Gangneung Oval, which will have a seating capacity of 8,000.
Quotes from Joey Mantia
- “Every time I step on the ice I want to win, but today I just knew that I needed to finish. That was a big stress-free situation for me. I really wanted to let those guys race it out.”
- “It was a fun race and those guys battled it out for the second spot.”
- “You have no idea what’s going to happen with this race. You can kind of anticipate and think so and so is going do whatever, but when you get out there you have to be completely dynamic. That’s the beauty of this race and the magic behind it.”
Quotes from Heather Bergsma
- “My main goal was to qualify for the Games in four events and that happened, so I’m happy.”
- “Anything can happen at the Olympic Games, that’s why it is so exciting to watch. I have four chances (to get a medal) and I’m going to do my best at all four.”
Quotes from Brian Hansen
- “I’m happy that I was able to pull out the win, and I’m happy to be representing the U.S. at the Olympics in this race, because hopefully I can do something good. It’s just one race that you never know what’s going to happen.”
- “I had four or five strategies that could happen. I fed off those strategies as the race unfolds, I see if we are in a breakaway or just one big group, or, am I tired or fresh. Based off those factors, I make a decision at the end of what I’ll do.”
Quotes from Mia Manganello
- “I knew exactly what I needed to skate and the results I needed to perform and make the team.”
- “After yesterday, today was much more relaxing. I enjoyed this race so much. I knew that if I just stayed on my feet and raced the way I could, that I would get another distance.”
Quotes from Emery Lehman
- “It’s awesome (making the Olympics). Definitely better the second time around than the first time around.”
- “I’ve been on pins and needles. You never really know until the weekend is over, especially with how racing goes. I knew I still had to come out and race really well, I had to leave it up to US Speedskating to make the decision.”