Brittany Bowe celebrates after competing in the women's 1000 meter during the ISU World Speed Skating Championships on Feb. 13, 2021 in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
Brittany Bowe wants an Olympic gold medal so badly she can already taste it.
The 33-year-old speedskater has been working with a hypnotherapist the past few years, taking visualization to the next level.
“To be able to narrow in and feel, see, smell, taste all of the things that I will experience on race day,” she said, “has been a pretty cool shift in my preparation.”
Bowe said the smell of competition is fresh and cold “since you’re down really close to such pure ice.”
And the taste? “It doesn’t sound appealing,” she said, “but at the end of these really difficult races, like the 1000 and the 1500 meter, I’m actually tasting blood in my mouth.”
That comes from pushing her body “to the absolute max,” said Bowe, who is favored to make her third straight Olympic team at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Long Track Speedskating in Milwaukee Jan. 5-9
The former inline skater and basketball player is the reigning world record holder in the 1000, which makes her a favorite in that event at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. She is also a medal threat in the 1500 and hopes to be in the mix in the 500 as well.
Although Bowe won her lone Olympic medal – a bronze in team pursuit in 2018 for the only Team USA long track speedskating medal at those Games – she is not involved in team pursuit this time as she concentrates on her individual races.
The native of Ocala, Florida, will draw from her previous Olympic experiences – which did not go as well as she had hoped.
With 32 inline world championships medals under her belt, Bowe broke her first world record on the ice in the 2013-14 season and went into Sochi as a medal contender. However, she placed eighth in the 1000, 13th in the 500, 14th in the 1500 and sixth in team pursuit as the entire U.S. speedskating team struggled.
“I felt really confident and I expected to come home with a medal, and I fell far short of that,” said Bowe. “And that was one of the most disappointing moments of my athletic career.”
Fast forward to the run-up to the 2018 PyeongChang Games, when Bowe suffered a concussion that had lingering ill effects.
“I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to skate at all,” Bowe said. “So I went into PyeongChang with a very different mindset -- a mindset of just gratitude and thankfulness to be able to have the opportunity to do what I love to do and to be able to compete again.”
She was fourth in the 1000 and fifth in both the 500 and 1500, bringing her tantalizingly close to the podium. With the bronze in team pursuit, Bowe was finally able to add “Olympic bronze medalist” to her email signature.
So, what would it mean to be able to add Olympic gold medalist? “That’s been my dream for as long as I can remember, and that’s kind of the last piece of the puzzle that I’m trying to put together,” said Bowe who is a seven-time world champion and has also captured eight silvers and five bronze medals in speedskating. “There are no words that can describe how that would make me feel, but every single day that’s what I’m striving for.”