Mia Manganello Kilburg skates during the women's 3000-meter during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 5, 2022 in Beijing.
BEIJING – On the first full day of events at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and in the first long track speedskating final to be held at the venue nicknamed the Ice Ribbon, veteran U.S. skater Mia Manganello Kilburg went out in the second of 10 pairs in the women’s 3,000-meter on Saturday.
The race didn’t go quite as well as Kilburg helped for. A former inline skater, she admits that even in her second Olympic Winter Games the time trial format can still be a challenge. The lone U.S. skater in the event clocked in the 19th best time, her 4:13.42 seconds was nearly 16 and a half seconds behind that of Dutch skater Irene Schouten, who won in an Olympic record of 3:56.93. Italy’s Francesca Lollobrigida took silver and Isabelle Weidemann of Canada the bronze.
It wasn’t the start Kilburg was hoping for in her second Olympic Winter Games, with the Crestview, Florida, native was admitting she “just didn’t have the legs today.”
“It’s not easy to feel that you didn’t skate your best,” Kilburg said.
There’s reason for optimism, however, as she still has two races to go at Beijing’s National Speed Skating Oval, including what might be her best medal hope, the mass start.
“It’s tough conditions, tough environment,” she said of Saturday’s race. “It’s not my first Olympics, but still, every Olympics has its challenges and things to overcome. It’s difficult to skate the first day and the last day as well, it’s difficult to do your best at both. … Right now, we’re picking and choosing where to succeed and unfortunately, the 3K had to suffer a little bit today.”
Coming out early in the late afternoon session, Kilburg, 32, said the race strategy in the 3K proved challenging for someone who has more of a “racer mentality.”
“It’s just difficult to go out there by yourself and continue to push yourself lap in, lap out,” she said. “It’s tough being the first event, but my focus is for the mass start, and that’s still two weeks away, so there’s still some time to get my legs right.”
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Beijing 2022? Visit TeamUSA.org/Beijing-2022-Olympic-Games to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.