Women's Team Pursuit Captures First U.S. Women's Speed Skating Medal In 16 Years

By Chris Cole | Feb. 21, 2018, 11 a.m. (ET)

Heather Bergsma (High Point, N.C.), Brittany Bowe (Ocala, Fla.), Mia Manganello (Crestview, Fla.) and Carlijn Schoutens (Heemstede, Netherlands) made history on Wednesday night from the Gangneung Oval, earning the first medal for the U.S. women long track team in 16 years. The trio of Bergsma, Bowe and Manganello took down Canada in the bronze medal race to bring home Team USA’s first Olympic medal in the women’s Team Pursuit.

The United States women won bronze by beating Canada by 0.45 seconds in the B Final with a season-best time of 2:59.27.

The bronze medal is Team USA’s Olympic medal in the women’s event. It was also the first U.S. women’s Olympic speed skating medal since 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

“We are extremely grateful,” said Heather Bergsma (High Point, N.C.) “It’s been a long time coming for US Speedskating and the ladies. We are extremely happy.”

The trio came out flying in their final race, building a steep lead over the Canadians. They slowed near the end as their early pace took its toll, but they managed to hold the lead from start to finish, despite both Bowe and Manganello slipping coming out of the final turn.

“Obviously, with Heather and mine’s speed, our strategy was to get out there, get a jumpstart, and hang on for dear life at the end,” Bowe said. “That’s what we did. That was heart that you saw in the last turn that got us to that bronze medal.”

With Bowe and Bergsma leading the beginning of the race with pure speed, Manganello was left to lead the final two and a half laps to bring home the bronze.

“I knew I just needed to get us to the line,” said Manganello. “It was a huge team effort. I had the girls pushing me right from when Brittany dropped back. It definitely wasn’t the prettiest thing, but hey, a medal regardless.”

Carlijn Schoutens (Heemstede, Netherlands) skated in place of Bowe in a semifinals loss (3:07.28) to the Netherlands that sent the U.S. to the bronze-medal race.

“The coaching staff put together a great plan for us,” Bowe said. “We obviously thought that resting me through the semi round and really fighting for that bronze medal was the most realistic goal for us. We wanted to come away with a medal.”

Team USA advanced out of Monday’s quarterfinals with a time of 2:59.75, which was a season-best at the time.

“Even though I had some near misses, I was really happy with all my performances,” said Bowe, who finished top-five in three individual events in PyeongChang. “It just goes to show it takes a team to get you there. It’s kind of a perfect ending for the Olympics for myself, personally, taking a team to get me to the podium.”

On the men’s side, the U.S. took eighth place in Team Pursuit after losing to Canada in the D Final on Wednesday with a time of 3:50.77.

Canada got off to a quick start and set a pace with which Team USA – comprised of Jonathan Garcia (Houston, Texas), Brian Hansen (Glenview, Ill.) and Emery Lehman (Oak Park, Ill.) – was unable to match.

“It’s still about pride going out there for an Olympic race,” Hansen said. “Because I still have another event coming up and so does Joey, I think our approach to this race was a little different.”

For results, post-race interviews and other media information, visit the US Speedskating Media Page.

Long track continues on Friday, February 23 with the men’s 1000m. Live coverage of the race will be streamed on nbcolympics.com beginning at 7 p.m. KT (5 a.m. ET).

Quotes from Brittany Bowe

  • “Even though I had some near misses, I was really happy with all my performances. It just goes to show it takes a team to get you there. It’s kind of a perfect ending for the Olympics for myself, personally, taking a team to get me to the podium.”
  • “The coaching staff put together a great plan for us. We obviously thought that resting me through the semi round and really fighting for that bronze medal was the most realistic goal for us. We wanted to come away with a medal.”
  • “Obviously, with Heather and mine’s speed, our strategy was to get out there, get a jumpstart, and hang on for dear life at the end. That’s what we did. That was heart that you saw in the last turn that got us to that bronze medal.”
  • “Even though I’ve come up short here a number of times I’ve just remained really grateful for the opportunity to be able to be on that start line. To be able to do it with the team here is the icing on top.”

Quotes from Heather Bergsma

  • “I could barely see straight when we crossed the line so it took a second to register. Mia was like ‘We did it!’ and all the weight lifted off my shoulders. It was Mia that screamed first and then we all started screaming after Mia screamed.”
  • “We are extremely grateful. It’s been a long time coming for US Speedskating and the ladies. We are extremely happy.”
  • “Carlijn did four laps in the semifinals. Four laps in the lead and I don’t know how anyone does that. I’m super thankful for them (Manganello and Schoutens) and Petra Acker, who skated in the World Cups and allowed us to be in this position.”

Quotes from Mia Manganello

  • “I knew I just needed to get us to the line. It was a huge team effort. I had the girls pushing me right from when Brittany dropped back. It definitely wasn’t the prettiest thing, but hey, a medal regardless.”
  • “I knew that last lap was pretty rough and so honestly I didn’t know if we had it when we crossed the line. All I did was look over, I saw that 1 and I grabbed Brittany’s hand and then I think it was just an uproar of emotions, screaming and cheering. It’s surreal. I don’t think it’s set in yet.”

Quote from Carlijn Schoutens

  • “I’m really happy that I could contribute in that middle round and make sure that we got through the race steady and clea

Quotes from Brian Hansen

  • “It’s still about pride going out there for an Olympic race. Because I still have another event coming up and so does Joey, I think our approach to this race was a little different.”
  • “Having a race in just over two days from now I want to make sure that I’m hitting the upswing over the next two days rather than recovering after this one and then coming up.”
  • “With the mass start, it’ll still be hard. There’s no guarantees in that race for anyone but that’s also what makes it exciting.”