Joey Mantia competes in the 1500m Men race during the ISU World Cup Speed Skating at Thialf Arena on Jan. 30, 2021 in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
In a sense, it’s not about how you start, but where you finish.
It’s a long way from Ocala, Florida, to Calgary, Alberta, in Canada, but Joey Mantia knows how to make quick work of that distance.
Using an explosive start and impressive endurance, the American captured the gold medal Saturday in the men’s 1,500-meter world cup race in Calgary, taking advantage of its fast ice, altitude and the work he has done recently on his starting burst.
Mantia posted a time of 1 minute, 41.860 seconds to win handily. On home ice, Connor Howe of Canada claimed the silver medal in 1:42.425, 0.56 seconds behind. Norway’s Allan Dahl Johansson took the bronze medal in 1:43.275. American Emery Lehman was fourth (1:43.410) and Casey Dawson 12th (1:44.184).
The 35-year-old Mantia, who overcame COVID-19, is seeking to make his third straight Olympic team. His goal is to win the first medal in long track speedskating by a U.S. male since 2010. He narrowly missed accomplishing that feat in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018, finishing fourth in the 1,000. He was also eighth in the 1,500 and ninth in the mass start at the 2018 Olympics.
Mantia got started late in the sport after amassing 28 world championships in inline skating. If his Calgary performance is any indication, he has frozen time and will be a major threat in Beijing come February.
The three-time world champion in the mass start, Mantia shattered the record for oldest man to win a nondistance world cup speedskating race last weekend in Salt Lake City. He won in a personal-best 1:41.15, just 0.11 seconds off the American record.