Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe and Mia Manganello compete during the Speed Skating Ladies' Team Pursuit Final B against Canada at the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 21, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.

Ice skating has come a long way since it was developed centuries ago on the frozen canals of the Netherlands. Long track speedskating, held on a 400-meter oval, has evolved into a mesmerizing display of power and grace as athletes race across the ice trying to post the fastest time.

Long track speedskating has been part of the Olympics since the first Winter Games in 1924. Women took part in demonstration events at the 1932 Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. The first women’s medal events were held at the 1960 Winter Games in what’s now Palisades Tahoe, California.

Competition in Beijing will include six individual events for men and women, plus a team pursuit event for both. Men and women race individually at 500, 1,000, 1,500 and 5,000 meters, while the women also have a 3,000-meter race and the men a 10,000. Each of those races use the time trial format in which pairs of skaters together. The newest event, a 16-lap mass start race, was added to the Olympics in 2018 and features a pack of skaters.

The Netherlands has dominated long track speedskating historically, with 42 gold medals and 121 total medals. Team USA, Norway and Russia are among a distant second tier. However, the U.S. is coming off two Olympics in which it won just a single medal. Those fortunes could change in Beijing, as the U.S. team brings defending world champions in Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia, as well as the season’s fastest woman at 500 meters in Erin Jackson. They’ll face competition from the usual suspects including the Dutch team that won seven of the 14 events at the 2021 world championships.

In Beijing, speedskating events will be held at the National Speed Skating Oval. The venue, which has been nicknamed the Ice Ribbon, is within the city’s Olympic Green cluster of venues that was also the centerpiece of the 2008 Summer Games.

Updated on January 28, 2022. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

Naturally when one thinks of long track speedskating their mind takes them to the Central Florida city of Ocala. Wait, what? That’s right, the city of 61,000 between Orlando and Gainesville produced Team USA’s most potent medal threats in Beijing. Brittany Bowe, Erin Jackson and Joey Mantia all got their starts as champion inline skaters there before transitioning to the ice and making names for themselves in long track speedskating.

Erin Jackson goes into Beijing as a gold-medal contender in the women’s 500-meter race. She almost didn’t make the team. At the Olympic trials in Milwaukee this January, Jackson caught her skate in her signature 500-meter event and shockingly finished in third place. With Team USA holding only two quota spots in the event, that meant Jackson, the world’s top-ranked skater at the distance, was out. Teammate and fellow Ocala native Brittany Bowe made sure it didn’t stay that way. Bowe, who swept the 500-, 1,000- and 1,500-meter races to earn Olympic berths in all three, relinquished her spot in the 500 to send Jackson to her second Winter Games. “Erin has earned her right to be on this 500-meter team,” Bowe said.

Seven women and five men qualified for the 2022 U.S. Olympic Team in long track speedskating. The women didn’t qualify in the team pursuit after winning a bronze medal in that event in 2018. However, the men could be serious contenders. A combination of Ethan Cepuran, Casey Dawson, Emery Lehman and Joey Mantia have enjoyed much success this season on the world cup level, winning two of the three races. The trio of Mantia, Lehman and Dawson set a world record in winning December’s race in Salt Lake City.

Brittany Bowe (Ocala, Florida): The 33-year-old Bowe comes into her third Olympics as Team USA’s most accomplished skater. Bowe was part of the U.S. team pursuit squad that earned a bronze medal in PyeongChang. However, she’s best known for her individual success, which includes three world titles at 1,000-meters (including the most recent one) and another at 1,500. The former college basketball player at Florida Atlantic is also the world-record holder and current world cup leader in the 1,000.

Erin Jackson (Ocala, Florida): Four years ago, Jackson made her Olympic debut just months after taking up the sport. In doing so, she became the first Black woman to make the U.S. Olympic long track team. This time around she’s looking for more than a learning experience at the Games. The 29-year-old burst out to a dominant start on the world cup circuit this season, winning four of the eight 500-meter races so far. After a fluke mistake at the Olympic trials almost kept Jackson off the Olympic team, she is headed to Beijing after teammate Bowe relinquished her spot in the 500. As the world’s top-ranked skater at the distance, she should be a medal favorite in Beijing.

Joey Mantia (Ocala, Florida): The mass start is a famously unpredictable race, but after Mantia claimed his third world title this past year, you can safely call that a trend. Mantia, who turns 36 during the Games, will no doubt be a favorite in that race in Beijing. That’s hardly his only strength, though. The former inline star is the world’s top-ranked skater at 1,500 meters, and he was just off the podium in fourth in the 1,000 in PyeongChang. For all his success, Mantia is seeking his first Olympic medal in Beijing, which will be his third Olympics.

Jordan Stolz (Kewaskum, Wisconsin): Team USA’s medal hopes don’t fall solely on the veteran trio from Ocala. One of the biggest stories this season has been the rise of 17-year-old Stolz, who won the 500 and 1,000 at the Olympic trials, setting track records in both events. The junior world record holder in the 500 and 1,000, Stolz also claimed his first world cup medal this season and became the third youngest man ever to make the U.S. Olympic speedskating team.

Meet the full U.S. long track speedskating team in this teamusa.org article

Feb. 5 – Women’s 3,000-meter
Feb. 6 – Men’s 5,000-meter
Feb. 7. – Women’s 1,500-meter
Feb. 8 – Men’s 1,500-meter
Feb. 10 – Women’s 5,000-meter
Feb. 11 – Men’s 10,000-meter
Feb. 12 – Men’s 500-meter
Feb. 13 – Women’s 500-meter
Feb. 15 – Women’s and men’s team pursuit
Feb. 17 – Women’s 1,000-meter
Feb. 18 – Men's 1,000-meter
Feb. 19 – Men's and women’s mass start