By Gary R. Blockus | Nov. 11, 2017, 12:58 p.m. (ET)
Joey Mantia celebrates after winning the men's mass start at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships at Gangneung Oval on Feb. 12, 2017 in Gangneung, South Korea.

 

Reigning world champion Joey Mantia took the mass start silver medal at the ISU World Cup in Heerenveen, Netherlands, to open the speedskating world cup season.

Mantia, 31, finished the mass start race in 7:36.87, finishing behind the Republic of Korea gold medal winner Seung-Hoon Lee by 0.45 seconds. Jaewon Chung, also of Korea Republic, won the bronze medal.

The mass start is making its Olympic debut at the Olympic Winter Game PyeongChang 2018.

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A 2014 Olympian from Ocala, Florida, Mantia won nine inline skating world championships before converting to long track speedskating. He finished fifth in the men’s 1,500-meter race earlier on Saturday.

Last season marked his breakout year on ice when he won the world title, as well as two gold medals and a bronze medal in world cup competition.

Mantia is on his third straight U.S. world cup team. He won the mass start race gold medal in last year’s world cup in Heerenveen, and has nine world cup medals since the 2013-14 season, including four gold medals – three in the 1,500.

Team USA will also be competing at world cup events in Stavanger, Norway; Calgary; and Salt Lake City. Those stops will determine the country quota spots for the PyeongChang Winter Games.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.