Mantia races to best Team USA result in Beijing so far, Dawson skates in first-ever Olympic event

by Brennan Smith

Joey Mantia raced to the best result for US Speedskating so far at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games Tuesday at the National Speed Skating Oval.  

Mantia skated to a time of 1:45.26, good for a sixth-place finish and his second-best Olympic finish of all-time behind a 4th place 1000m effort at PyeongChang 2018.  

Joining Mantia in Tuesday’s competition were Emery Lehman and Casey Dawson, who finished 11th and 28th with respective times of 1:45.78 and 1:49.45.  

Lehman, who previously finished 16th in the men’s 5000m Sunday in Beijing, skated to his best solo race result since a 10th place result in the 10,000m at Sochi 2014.  

You’ve got to fight out there,” Lehman said. “I thought I did that really well today, better today than I did a few days ago in my 5k, so I’m really happy about that.”  

Dawson made his Olympic racing debut after a whirlwind travel day – landing in Beijing mere hours before the race began and overcoming a list of challenges to make it to the starting line.  

Just to be here in Beijing is a dream. I always wanted to be an Olympian growing up and to finally be able to call myself an Olympian is amazing,” Dawson said. “Just to skate this race is awesome and I couldn’t be happier just to step to the line in Beijing.”  

Now that all three have experienced racing on the Beijing ice, the trio and Ethan Cepuran will shift focus to what Lehman referred to as “strength in numbers” in preparing for the Men’s Team Pursuit race.  

It’s a completely different race. The technical cues and the technical needs of the skating are completely different so I don’t feel like this in any way will affect that,” Mantia said. “I know what I need to do in the team pursuit, just gotta go out and do it.”  

US Speedskating Olympic action continues Wednesday with Short Track races scheduled for 7:00 pm Beijing time and 4:00 am MST/6:00 am EST Monday. 

Tune in to NBC and Peacock to catch all of the US Speedskating action throughout the Olympics.