Brianna Bocox competes at the ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships on Feb. 2, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisc.
Home ice for the inaugural ISU Four Continents Speedskating Championships worked out perfectly for U.S. speedskaters Brianna Bocox and Mia Kilburg-Manganello.
Bocox had personal-best times in her emotional wins in the women’s 1,000-meter and 1,500-meter races, and Kilburg-Manganello won the 3,000-meter and mass start events at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Kilburg-Manganello, who also won a bronze medal in the 1,000-meter and a gold medal in the Sunday’s team pursuit, reached the podium in every race she entered. She emerged from the competition with three gold medals and one bronze. Bocox joined her as a triple gold winner in the team pursuit.
Bocox and Kilburg-Manganello were among six U.S. skaters winning eight medals in the three-day competition, which concluded Sunday. Emery Lehman, a two-time Olympian, had a third-place finish in the men’s 5,000-meter on Friday, and Ian Quinn finished third in the men’s mass start on Saturday.
The championships were the first four continents event to be held in speedskating, joining the four continents short track championships, which were held in January in Montreal. In addition to the U.S., competing nations were Canada, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Argentina and Taiwan.
Bocox’s victory in the 1,500-meter race on Saturday was her first in a major international competition, and came just months after her grandmother passed away and her coach, Ryan Shimabukuro, suffered a heart attack and survived.
Shimabukuro texted her after the win.
“I’m grateful that Ryan is healthy and back coaching,” Bocox said. “He is at home with the rest of our teammates and I will catch up with him in Salt Lake City. He texted me immediately after the race. That made my heart happy. He’s been with me ever since I started.”
Bocox, who made her world cup debut in 2018, won the 1,500-meter in a personal-best time of 1:57.176, edging out Nadezhda Morozova of Kazakhstan by .71 of a second. On Sunday, Bocox won the 1,000-meter with another personal best, capturing the race with a time of 1:15.537 and defeating Rio Yamada of Japan, who set her own personal best with a time of 1:16.048. Kilburg-Manganello took third in 1:16.047, another personal best.
Two-time Olympian Brittany Bowe, who holds the track records in both the 1,000 and 1,500, did not compete in Milwaukee as she continues to train for the World Single Distances Championships, which will be held Feb. 13-16 at the Utah Olympic Oval.
Kilburg-Manganello, a 2018 Olympic bronze medalist, also delivered a pair of wins for the U.S. She won the tightly packed mass start on Saturday with a time of 11:12.480, defeating Olympic silver medalist Kim Bo-Reum of Korea by .2 of a second, and the 3,000-meter on Friday with a time of 4:07.005, defeating Morozova.
Of the five women’s individual events held over three days, the U.S. won four of them. Erin Jackson nearly reached the podium in the fifth event, finishing fourth in the women’s 500-meter.
Kilburg-Manganello, Bocox, Paige Schwartzburg and Chrysta Rands put a winning stamp on the competition Sunday, winning the women’s team pursuit by more than six seconds ahead of Canada. Their winning time was 3:02.559.
“We’re killing it,” Kilburg-Manganello said.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.