Ethan Cepuran, Casey Dawson, Emery Lehman and Joey Mantia pose with their medals during the Men's Team Pursuit medal ceremony at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 15, 2022 in Beijing, China.
The Olympic medal that has eluded three-time Olympic speedskater Joey Mantia for the past two Winter Games is finally here – a bronze in the men’s team pursuit at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
It’s a feeling his teammate, first-timer Casey Dawson, can relate to after arriving in Beijing minus the bag that held his skates. But now, both speedskaters have claimed what is rightfully theirs (Thankfully, Dawson’s bag showed up ahead of the quarterfinals, days after he raced in the 1,500-meter in a borrowed pair.)
The 35-year-old Mantia — who just missed the podium at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 with a fourth in the individual 1000m — led the U.S. team on the ice oval to a resounding victory over the Netherlands in the B final of the men’s team pursuit to take the bronze with a time of 3:38.81.
The win marks the second speedskating medal for the U.S. in Beijing. On Sunday night, Team USA’s Erin Jackson skated to the top spot in the 500-meter to secure the first American gold since 2010, when Shani Davis won in the men’s 1,000-meter.
In the men’s two team pursuit races leading up to the finals, the U.S. trio consisted of Casey Dawson, Emery Lehman and Ethan Cepuran, who train daily together in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In the quarterfinals — a seeding race where the top four times move on to the semis — the U.S. had the second-best time, just 0.04 behind Norway and 1.16 ahead of the Russian Olympic Committee. In the second half of the race against Norway, the Americans picked up the pace to nearly swipe the top spot from the defending gold medalists.
Team USA went on to lose to their semifinal pairing to the ROC, who skated an Olympic-record time and booked their ticket to the gold medal final.
In the third-place final, the world-record-holding Americans went head-to-head against the Netherlands, the bronze medalists from PyeongChang. Team USA swapped out Cepuran for Mantia, who followed their team tactic of skating out front the whole race.