Joey Mantia celebrates victory after the final men's mass start race during the ISU World Speed Skating Championships Feb. 13, 2021 in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
As soon as the race ended, Joey Mantia raised a finger on each hand and acknowledged the crowd that was cheering for him.
Age hasn’t slowed him down any.
The 35-year-old became the oldest male speedskater to win the 1,500 at a long track speedskating world cup when he crossed the finish line in 1 minute, 41.154 seconds on Saturday in Salt Lake City.
The two-time Olympian edged China’s Ning Zhongyan, who finished 0.232 seconds behind Mantia to earn the silver medal at 1:41.386. The Netherlands’ Thomas Krol took the bronze at 1:41.892.
Mantia, at 35 years, 300 days, broke American Derek Parra’s record for the oldest male to win the 1,500 at a world cup event. Parra was 32 years, 246 days when he earned a victory at a world cup in Erfurt, Germany, in November 2002.
Mantia also competed in the men’s mass start on Saturday and finished 10th with a time of 7:29.090. Belgium’s Bart Swing won the gold at 7:25.420. Mantia is looking to qualify for his third Winter Olympics, and he will turn 36 on Feb. 7 as the Beijing Games are going on.
It has been a trying year for the veteran speedskater. Mantia tested positive for the coronavirus last December.
He told NBC Sports he struggled to get off the couch because of the virus and slept 13 hours a day. When he finally returned to the ice, he had to work his way back into shape.
“I did two weeks of absolutely nothing, which is pretty detrimental to an athlete regardless of having any kind of virus or not,” Mantia told NBC Sports.