America completed third in speedskating’s crew pursuit on Tuesday, amassing the second American speedskating medal of those Olympics. America males are the world file holders within the crew pursuit and have been favored to win the occasion, making the third-place end equal elements success and disappointment.
Russian Olympic Committee
The American crew of Joey Mantia, Casey Dawson and Emery Lehman defeated the Netherlands within the B last — successfully the bronze medal race — by virtually three seconds. Norway received the gold, for the second Olympics in a row, defeating Russia within the last.
However an surprising resolution doubtlessly price the US an opportunity to race Norway within the last. Mantia, probably the most completed American skater, didn’t skate within the semifinals towards a crew from Russia, with Ethan Cepuran chosen as an alternative by the crew to race with Dawson and Lehman.
Dawson, Lehman and Cepuran skated effectively, main via the center of the race — their time of three minutes 37.05 seconds was sooner than the Olympic file (and sooner than the Individuals skated with Mantia within the B last). However the Russians skated a good higher race, and received by virtually half a second.
Cepuran and Mantia each stated they have been solely slightly bit upset by the semifinal loss. “How unfortunate do you gotta be that Russia goes 4 seconds sooner of their semi than their last?” Mantia stated. “Race of their lives. You may’t actually be unhappy about it. It’s simply sort of unfortunate.”
The plan was all the time for Mantia to not skate within the quarterfinals, the crew stated. Earlier than the semifinals the skaters sat down and talked frankly about how all of them felt, and that dialog resulted in Cepuran’s skating within the semifinals as an alternative of Mantia. After the semifinals, Cepuran was extra drained than Dawson, who arrived on the Olympics late and was more energizing, and so he stepped apart for Mantia.
Within the males’s crew pursuit, three crew members skate in single file solely inches aside for eight laps, with the time of the final skater to cross the end line counted. Often each lap or two the entrance skater, who does the grueling work of setting the tempo whereas the others glide in his slipstream, peels to the again and lets a brand new teammate lead, and undergo.
As a gaggle of people, the US skaters are much less completed than most of their opponents. None of them had received an Olympic medal earlier than, for instance, and apart from Mantia, none have come notably shut. Their opponents within the bronze medal race, the Dutch, have been led by the nine-time Olympic medalist Sven Kramer and the four-time medalist Patrick Roest.
However the US has prioritized the crew pursuit over the previous 4 years with a daring and progressive technique that has upended how the race is run. As an alternative of exchanging the position of who skates up entrance, the US has one member lead your complete race, whereas his teammates use the power saved to bodily push each other ahead. The technique has had success: The Individuals set the world file in Salt Lake Metropolis in December, and the Norwegians, who received the gold on Tuesday, freely admit to having copied it.
The bronze medal is the primary for all the US skaters, and got here within the third, and probably last, Olympics for Mantia, who’s 36. Final week he appeared resigned to retiring with out ever successful an Olympic medal after ending sixth within the 1,500 meters.
“It’s heartbreaking, ,” Mantia stated on the time. “I actually thought that this was my likelihood.”
It was tough to be too upset, then, after lastly successful a medal. “I really feel like the load’s been lifted in a way,” Mantia stated. “I’m an Olympic medalist.”
Within the ladies’s crew pursuit, the favored Canadians defeated the Japanese and set a brand new Olympic file. The Japanese led your complete race, however on the ultimate curve Nana Takagi out of the blue misplaced her steadiness and fell, handing the gold medal to the Canadians. The Netherlands defeated Russia for the bronze.