Jordan Stolz skates during a speed skating practice session at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 12, 2022 in Beijing, China.
BEIJING — The dogged competitor in Jordan Stolz was disappointed. But considering he’s just the third U.S. male speedskater ever to make the Olympic team at the age of 17, 13th in your first Olympic race is a pretty good place to start. The speed Jordan Stolz has at just 17 years old. 😳@USSpeedskating x #WinterOlympics pic.twitter.com/hAEbaEMnxw
Stolz’s time of 34.85 in the men’s 500-meter was .53 seconds off the Olympic-record pace of gold medalist Tingyu Gao of China, and .74 seconds off his American record time set at a world cup in Calgary in December. The teen from Kewaskum, Wisconsin, found things in the aftermath of the race that he could improve on, but also some positives.
“I was pretty happy with the lap,” Stolz said. “The opener just wasn’t quite there, but everything else was good.”
Indeed, Stolz’s 100-meter split time ranked 19th while his lap time was just .11 seconds back of Gao. Stolz cited tricky ice conditions and some fatigue as some other factors in his time.
Ice at the brand-new National Speed Skating Oval is something other U.S. skaters have commented on as well. Getting a read on that has been one of their additional challenges at these Games. Saturday’s action saw a couple of competition delays to fix patches in the ice.
“It’s more so different in practice every day, every day it’s changing,” Stolz said. “And I sharpened my skates a certain way last night for today, and then it was way different.”
Stolz has been a rising star in American speedskating for some time now, even at his young age. He competed at the 2020 world junior championships and Youth Olympic Games but experienced a breakout over the past year. Stolz set junior records in the 500 and 1,000 and the American record in the 500. Then at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, he broke track records while winning both events.
Stolz came into Beijing with plenty of promise and comparisons to fellow teen phenom Eric Heiden, but said he wasn’t feeling the nerves too badly.
“I was pretty calm, of course I was a little bit nervous, but it was nothing terrible,” Stolz said. “I knew that I wasn’t like the medal favorite, so if I just skate a good race and then see what happens, that’s all I really tried to focus on.”
The speed Jordan Stolz has at just 17 years old. 😳@USSpeedskating x #WinterOlympics pic.twitter.com/hAEbaEMnxw— Team USA (@TeamUSA) February 12, 2022