Playing The Stock Market A New Thrill For Joey Mantia

by David Seigerman

Joey Mantia sensed an opportunity was imminent. He sat back and waited, patient but poised to pounce. 

Maybe it was some indicator he’d been waiting for that alerted him it was time to act, or maybe it was instinct, but at some point, Mantia knew a moment had arrived. Without hesitation, he made his big move.


Just a few days into his initial dabbling in the stock market, losing 10 bucks here, netting five bucks there, Mantia executed his first real play. He’d spotted the name of some biopharmaceutical company on a list of daily top losers, spent maybe 15 or 20 minutes researching it online, acquainting himself with its recent performance in the market and its product line (turns out, it specializes in creating therapeutics and diagnostic tests for patients suffering from rare endocrine diseases). He came away from his minimal due diligence with a conviction that this company he hadn’t heard of a half-hour earlier was positioned for a rally, and so he took the plunge. Life in the bubble was about to get interesting.

“It was my first real experience in trading,” said Mantia, whose hotel room in the Netherlands had become buried under spreadsheets and scribbled notes during the two-week interval between the ISU Speedskating World Cup in late January and the World Single Distances Championships in mid-February. “I hopped into a trade, got lucky on a runner, got out when it was at its peak, made a bunch of money.”

It wouldn’t be the biggest moment of his prolonged stay in the Netherlands. That would come a few days later when, after lingering mid-pack until the final lap of the mass start final, Mantia seized another moment, swinging to the outside to overtake the five skaters in front of him, winning the event for the third time in his career.

Still, cashing a few thousand dollars made for a nice payday. And it brought him a familiar brand of exhilaration, a feeling not unlike what he’s experienced during his 20-plus years competing on the world’s biggest stages, first as an inline skater before moving to the ice in 2010.

“It’s exceptionally close to how a mass start sets up,” said Mantia. “You do your best to prepare, do all your research, try to put yourself in the best situation. Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes somebody falls in front of you and you lose a medal. Luck favors the prepared.”

As a skater, Mantia has never felt better prepared. The world championship capped the best technical year of his career — “I did not have a single bad technical practice the entire season,” he said. “That’s never happened for me since I came to the ice.” — even if he didn’t always feel at his physical best. 

No, that had nothing to do with his age. Mantia turned 35 while he was in Europe, on the same Sunday a 43-year-old quarterback won the Super Bowl. But his commitment to maintaining peak condition has enabled his extended stay at the top of his sport in the face of wave after wave of new young challengers. 

Mantia arrived for the world cup events still recovering from an extended bout of COVID-19, which kept him pretty much confined to his couch back in Salt Lake City for about two weeks. It’s little wonder he came to Heerenveen planning to fill his down time by playing video games, reading the cookbooks he’d brought with him, and recuperating.

But after a series of persistent, enthusiastic texts from a friend, the brother of a former skating teammate, nudging him to check out the market, Mantia relented. He set up an online account, sunk six hours one day into tutorial videos on YouTube, and was on his way.

“I enjoy more than just the money aspect of it,” said Mantia, who learned pretty quickly that not all trades work out the way that first big one did; he wound up giving back much of those initial earnings on subsequent plays. “I love understanding the psychology of how people react to news and how that affects the market, learning the math behind it, probability. I’m a sponge for knowledge in that regard.”

What began as a curiosity has revealed itself as a potential second career for someday down the road. Mantia isn’t ready yet to consider life after the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 — or even the 2026 Games, during which he will turn 40 years old. Still, he is always open to exploring interests beyond the oval.

Coaching is one thing Mantia would like to pursue someday, maybe as an assistant coach when he’s still young enough to skate and work out with his athletes. He’d love to have the impact on young skaters that US Speedskating coach Ryan Shimabukuro has had on his career.

Maybe he’d like to open up a café — “a bakery-café-deli situation,” as he called it, something similar to the coffee shop he owned on the University of Utah campus before having to shutter it during the pandemic.

Or maybe his newfound hobby will sustain his interest into the future. Now that he’s learning to speak the language of markets and starting to crack the code on investment concepts like calls and puts and options trading, Mantia is enjoying this new game. Especially since it reminds him so much of his original game.

“It’s not why I started in it, but there is a huge correlation between trading and being an athlete, namely the volatility” said Mantia. “The stock market is one big oscillation. You open up any chart wide enough, look at it through a big enough scope, you’ll see a huge up and a huge down, a small up and a small down. It’s been the same thing with my career as an athlete. There are dips and I come up, dips and I come up. You learn a lot more when you’re getting burned than when things are going great.

“To get good at anything, you have to have a strategy, try it, and in the end, look back and ask why did that work, why didn’t this work? You have to assess your success or your failure, . . . give it enough time, be patient and weather the storms until you can say, now I know what I’m doing. Things are in the green, and just ride the momentum.”

David Seigerman is a veteran sportswriter, producer, author and the producer/writer/host of the new sports podcast, Out Of Left Field. He is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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