Jordan Stolz skates in the men's 1000-meters during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 18, 2022 in Beijing.
Jordan Stolz burst onto the scene a year ago by winning the 500 and 1,000-meter races at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Long Track Speedskating at the age of 17.
Though he placed lower than he’d have liked in Beijing, missing the top 10 in both events, the Wisconsin teenager gained valuable experience that he’s now turning into results. At 18, he’s spent this winter traveling the world, winning races and rewriting the record books — with one more big opportunity to add to his resume at this weekend’s world championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
Stolz’s life of homeschooling while traveling the world is far from what most teenagers experience. But, it’s also exactly what he expected. The native of Kewaskum, a town located just north of Milwaukee, understood when he decided to dedicate himself to becoming a world-class speedskater that it would mean forgoing what some consider teenage rites of passage. The tradeoff has been experiences few others get to have at any time in their life, much less before they are out of high school.
Not one to be content sitting still, Stolz can’t imagine a life without days filled with skating, training and studying.
“Ever since I started taking the sport seriously, it’s been like this,” he said. “Since I was 14. It’s different, but it’s not bad and I really enjoy it.
“It’s different, but I think I’d rather have the skating life than just sitting at home.”
While his past few years have been anything but ordinary, he hasn’t been skating in isolation. Stolz and junior national team teammates Auggie Herman and Jonathon Tobon have been skating together for about half their lives, training out of the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. With their whole relationship built through the sport they’ve dedicated their lives to, the teens have always been able to separate their skating from their friendship. They’re the first to check on one another after a fall or congratulate one another after a win.
“On the ice you’re competitors, and off the ice you’re friends and you try not to carry either side into each other,” Stolz said.
On the world cup circuit, he has bonded with the rest of his national team teammates, and that camaraderie ensures the trips don’t feel like work.
“Going to the world cups with people I know makes a huge difference,” Stolz said. “It’s a bit like going on vacation. It’s like a community. We’re really close to each other.
“Most of the guys I’ve known for a long time. We’ve all learned the same life lessons together through skating. It has just been really fun. It was a good way to grow up.”