Skip to content

U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials preview

Dec 26, 2013, 1:04 PM EDT

Shani Davis Getty Images

Up to 20 more athletes will qualify for Sochi at the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials in Salt Lake City over the next week.

The U.S. has won more medals in speed skating than any other Winter Olympic sport, and it is projected to add to that total of 67 in Sochi.

Shani Davis is a four-time Olympic medalist and entered in both of his Olympic medal events this week — the 1000m (Sunday) and 1500m (Tuesday) — and the 500m (Saturday).

Davis, 31. is not entered in the 5000m, an event he competed in at the 2010 Olympics. This is not surprising as Davis has pared his schedule in recent seasons as he’s fought injury.

World sprint champion Heather Richardson and world record holder Brittany Bowe are expected to be the top U.S. women in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m. They are Sochi Olympic medal threats along with Davis.

Here’s the Olympic Trials schedule (all times Eastern):

Friday — Men’s 5000m/Women’s 3000m, 5:30 p.m. (NBCSN,  8 p.m.)
Saturday — Men’s/Women’s 500m, 11:30 a.m. (NBC, 3 p.m.)
Sunday — Men’s/Women’s 1000m, 1:30 p.m. (NBC, 3 p.m.)
Tuesday — Men’s/Women’s 1500m, 5 p.m. (NBCSN, 6 p.m.)
Wednesday — Men’s 10,000m/Women’s 5000m, 3:30 p.m. (NBCSN, 5 p.m.)

The U.S. cannot send more than 10 men and 10 women to the Sochi Olympics, even though it qualified more than 10 quota spots across all distances via World Cup results.

Therefore, it will help if Davis, Richardson, Bowe and others qualify for the team in multiple events.

The U.S. could have up to four Olympic entries each in the men’s and women’s 500m and 1000m and the men’s 1500m. It could have up to three in the women’s 1500m and men’s 5000m. It could have up to two in the women’s 3000m and one in the women’s 5000m and men’s 10,000m.

Here’s an event-by-event preview of the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials:

Men’s 500m
Maximum Olympic entries: Four
Contenders: Tucker Fredricks, Mitchell Whitmore, Joey Mantia, Jonathan Garcia, Shani Davis

Fredricks, 29, is a two-time Olympian, but his best results have not come at the Games (25th and 12th). At his best, he has threatened the best in the world.

In a surprise, Fredricks began the World Cup season as the fastest man in Calgary, Alberta, in early November. He hasn’t made the podium since but appears to still be the top American.

Whitmore, 24 and the American record holder, has finished no lower than 15th over eight World Cup races this season. He is a solid No. 2 behind Fredricks and should make his second Olympic team after finishing 37th in Vancouver.

Mantia and Garcia were third and fourth to Fredricks and Whitmore at time trials at the Salt Lake City oval last week.

source: Getty Images

Brittany Bowe could make the U.S. Olympic Team in three individual distances. (Getty Images)

Women’s 500m
Maximum Olympic entries: Four
Contenders: Heather Richardson, Brittany Bowe, Elli Ochowicz, Sugar Todd, Lauren Cholewinski

Richardson, the former inline skater from High Point, N.C., has been the fastest American woman each of the last five seasons. She was sixth at the 2010 Olympics, won the World Sprint Championship in January and made the podium in three of eight World Cup races this season.

Bowe, the former college basketball player, has gained on Richardson since taking up speed skating after watching Richardson on TV at the 2010 Olympics. She has yet to make a World Cup 500m podium but hasn’t finished lower than 11th in eight races this season.

Ochowicz, 30, is the daughter of three-time 1976 Olympic speed skating medalist Sheila Young and Jim Ochowicz, who manages the BMC Pro Cycling Racing Team. She is trying to make her fourth Olympic team. Her best Olympic finish is 17th.

Todd and Cholewinski were fourth and fifth behind Richardson, Bowe and Ochowicz at time trials in Salt Lake City last week.

Men’s 1000m
Maximum Olympic entries: Four
Contenders: Shani Davis, Brian Hansen, Joey Mantia, Trevor Marsicano, Jonathan Garcia, Mitchell Whitmore

Davis, 31, is the two-time reigning Olympic 1000m champion and the favorite to win Sunday.

Hansen, 23, is also a Sochi medal threat after winning bronze at the first two World Cups of the season. He skipped the last two World Cups overseas to focus on training in Wisconsin.

Mantia, 27, won a bevy of world inline titles in 2009 and 2010 and has been on a stellar rise since switching to ice, especially this season. In his first four World Cup 1000m races, he finished 11th, 11th and second in three B division races for lower-ranked skaters. He moved up to the A division for the last World Cup in Berlin and took sixth, the top American behind Davis.

Marsicano, 24, held the 1000m world record for about 20 minutes in March 2009 before Davis retook it at the same competition. He’s struggled with injuries since winning four medals at the 2009 World Championships and is in a fight to make his second Olympic team.

Garcia and Whitmore were the fastest men at time trials in Salt Lake City last week, but that event didn’t include Davis, Hansen or Marsicano and Mantia did not finish.

The comeback story of the U.S. Olympic Trials

Women’s 1000m
Maximum Olympic entries: Four
Contenders: Heather Richardson, Brittany Bowe, Sugar Todd, Elli Ochowicz, Lauren Cholewinski, Rebekah Bradford

Richardson and Bowe should go one-two in this event, in either order, after taking gold and silver together at three of four World Cups. Richardson won three of those races and took second in the other with the second fastest time ever.

Bowe broke Olympic champion Christine Nesbitt‘s world record in Salt Lake City on Nov. 17 to relegate Richardson to silver. She’s been second to Richardson in the 1000m World Cup standings each of the last two seasons.

The fight for third and fourth is among 500m hopefuls Todd, Ochowicz and Cholewinski as well as 2010 Olympian Bradford.

source: AP

Joey Mantia is looking to make his first Olympic team. (AP)

Men’s 1500m
Maximum Olympic entries: Four
Contenders: Shani Davis, Joey Mantia, Brian Hansen, Trevor Marsicano, Jonathan Kuck

Davis is the two-time reigning Olympic 1500m silver medalist. He could get competition from Mantia, who won the last World Cup event in the second A division start of his career on Dec. 6 (Davis was eighth).

Hansen has won World Cup 1500m medals each of the last two seasons. Marsicano and Kuck appear to be fighting for fourth, though Kuck is better in longer distances.

Women’s 1500m
Maximum Olympic entries: Three
Contenders: Brittany Bowe, Heather Richardson, Jilleanne Rookard

Bowe, faster than Richardson here, made two of four World Cup podiums this season. Richardson made her first career World Cup 1500m podium in Salt Lake City on Nov. 16, putting her in the Sochi medal mix.

Rookard, a 2010 Olympian, leads a group racing for third.

Women’s 3000m
Maximum Olympic entries: Two
Contenders: Jilleanne Rookard, Maria Lamb, Petra Acker, Anna Ringsred

As the distances get longer, the U.S. Olympic medal prospects get dimmer. No U.S. woman has finished in the top 10 of a World Cup 3000m the last three seasons.

Rookard, 12th at the 2010 Olympics, was the last to make a World Cup 3000m podium, winning an event in November 2010.

The 2010 Olympian Lamb is stronger in the 5000m. Acker and Ringsred are trying to make their first Olympic teams.

Men’s 5000m
Maximum Olympic entries: Three
Contenders: Jonathan Kuck, Brian Hansen, Emery Lehman, Patrick Meek

Kuck made the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team at 19 and went on to win silver one month later at the World Allround Championships, an event that measures skaters across all distances. Kuck is best at the 5000m and 10,000m and a clear favorite to win both events this week.

Hansen sparingly races the 5000m internationally. Lehman, 17, could become the youngest male member of the entire U.S. Olympic Team.

Women’s 5000m
Maximum Olympic entries: One
Contenders: Maria Lamb, Jilleanne Rookard

The single spot is likely to come down to the two women who competed in the 2010 Olympic 5000m. Rookard was eighth at the Olympics, seven spots ahead of Lamb, but the younger Lamb was three seconds faster than Rookard at the only World Cup 5000m this season.

Men’s 10,000m
Maximum Olympic entries: One
Contenders: Jonathan Kuck, Emery Lehman, Patrick Meek

No American has been within 10 seconds of Kuck in any of the last three seasons. The single spot should be his if he wants it.

Video: Alex Ovechkin signs Capitals jersey for Michael Phelps

Latest Posts
  1. Kohei Uchimura’s mother competes in gymnastics meet

    Sep 16, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT

    Kohei Uchimura Getty Images

    Shuko Uchimura hadn’t competed in some 30 years, according to Japanese report.

  2. Boston’s potential advantage in 2024 Olympic bid race

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT

    Boston Getty Images

    “The city is the Olympic park,” official tells Boston Globe.

  3. Paralympic president clarifies Pistorius stance, looks to Rio

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:27 PM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius, Alan Oliveira Getty Images

    IPC president Sir Philip Craven looks ahead to an anniversary and a new frontier for the Paralympics.

  4. Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps hope to meet for first time before Olympic farewell

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:36 PM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps Getty Images

    The greatest Olympians of this generation discuss thoughts on one another.

  5. U.S. men’s volleyball team eliminated at World Championships

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

    USA Volleyball Getty Images

    U.S. bounced in Poland with five-set loss to Argentina.

  6. What U.S.’ FIBA World Cup title means for Olympics

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:16 AM EDT

    Kyrie Irving AP

    The second-biggest winner from the FIBA World Cup may be a nation that didn’t compete in Spain.

  7. Carolina Kostner called to hearing in ex-boyfriend’s doping case

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    Carolina Kostner Getty Images

    Olympic bronze medalist figure skater dated Olympic race-walking champion when he tested positive.

  8. Oscar Pistorius’ Nike contract terminated

    Sep 13, 2014, 8:52 PM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius

    Nike had suspended its contract with the runner six days after he shot and killed his girlfriend.

  9. Jenny Simpson has long-standing record in sight after spectacular season

    Sep 12, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT

    Jenny Simpson Getty Images

    Simpson, racing the Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday, is one tenth away from breaking a 31-year-old mark.

  10. Things Mutaz Barshim could jump over (photos)

    Sep 12, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    Mutaz Barshim

    High jumper hashtag has taken social media by storm.

  11. Reeva Steenkamp’s mom says justice was not served in Oscar Pistorius trial (video)

    Sep 12, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

    Barry Steenkamp, June Steenkamp Getty Images

    Steenkamp’s parents want to meet with Pistorius, they told NBC News.

  12. Oscar Pistorius would be allowed in Paralympics after serving sentence

    Sep 12, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius Getty Images

    “We would not stand in his way,” IPC spokesman said.

  13. Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide (verdict video)

    Sep 12, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius AP

    Runner faces up to 15 years in prison, plus sentence for gun charge.

  14. World Gymnastics Championships nominative lists announced

    Sep 11, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT

    Simone Biles Getty Images

    U.S. women’s team won’t officially be named until next week.

  15. Mikaela Shiffrin eyes breakthrough with World Cup season approaching

    Sep 11, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT

    Mikaela Shiffrin Getty Images

    Olympic slalom champion hopes for multiple World Cup giant slalom wins this season.

  16. Oscar Pistorius trial judge rules out murder, verdict incomplete

    Sep 11, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius Getty Images

    Runner could still face up to 15 years in prison for culpable homicide.

  17. Amanda Kessel to miss 2014-15 season due to pre-Olympic concussion

    Sep 10, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    Amanda Kessel Getty Images

    Kessel visited brain center run by same doctor who treated Sidney Crosby.