After coming just tenths of a second away from securing an Olympic berth in her first two events at the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials, Mia Manganello turned her disappointment into joy by finishing third in the women’s 1500m and earning a long-awaited spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
In the first event of Trials, the women’s 3000m, Manganello finished behind Carlijn Schoutens, and since the U.S. women had earned only one quota spot in the event, only Schoutens was named to the team. The next day, Manganello finished third in the women’s 1000m, an event where the U.S. women had earned the maximum three spots. But she didn’t meet the minimum Olympic qualifying time as set by U.S. Speedskating, so she wasn’t able to qualify for the Olympic team in that event either.
This wasn’t the first Olympic Trials heartbreak for Manganello. Eight years ago, she narrowly missed a spot on the Olympic team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and decided to step away from the sport. She spent several years as a competitive cyclist before deciding to come back to the ice.
Manganello described her week of Trials as “a lot of lows” but she turned it around, with the help of the supportive crowd, by crossing the finish line tonight with a time of 1:59.283. After the race, Manganello said she was watching the clock in the final moments of the race, knowing that if she stayed under 2 minutes she’d be going to the Olympics.
“I was tearing up going to the line,” she said, “knowing that it was possible.”
The top two finishers were Brittany Bowe and Heather Bergsma, both Sochi Olympians who had already earned spots in the 1000m and 500m Olympic races. Bowe was the fastest with a time of 1:55.926, and Bergsma clocked 1:56.126.
Bergsma is the world record holder and reigning world champion in the 1500m.
In the men’s 1500m, Brian Hansen was the latest U.S. male speed skater to make the Olympic team.
Hansen finished second in the men’s event with a time of 1:46.642. PyeongChang will be the third Olympics for 27-year-old Hansen; he won a silver medal in the team pursuit at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and was the top U.S. finisher, seventh, in the 1500m at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
At the Olympic Trials, Hansen finished in between Joey Mantia and Shani Davis, both of whom already qualified for the 2018 team through their performances in the 1000m race. Mantia clocked 1:46.305 and Davis, who until December was the world record holder in the 1500m, earned a time of 1:47.153.
The U.S. Olympic speed skating team and the events they’ve qualified to skate in PyeongChang:
Joey Mantia: 1000m, 1500m
Shani Davis: 1000m, 1500m
Mitch Whitmore: 500m, 1000m
Jonathan Garcia: 500m
Kimani Griffin: 500m
Brian Hansen: 1500m
Carlijn Schoutens: 3000m, 5000m
Heather Bergsma: 500m, 1000m, 1500m
Brittany Bowe: 500m, 1000m, 1500m
Erin Jackson: 500m
Mia Manganello: 1500m
The U.S. can bring a maximum of sixteen speed skaters, eight men and eight women, to the PyeongChang Olympics.
The U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials will wrap up tomorrow with the men’s and women’s mass start. The two races can be watched live on NBCSN or NBCOlympics.com from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. ET.