It was no world record for the United States in the men’s speedskating team pursuit, something the Americans accomplished at the world championships in Salt Lake City two months ago.
A bronze medal in Beijing will do, though.
Joey Mantia, 36, paced the team against speedskating legend Sven Kramer (nine Olympic medals, four gold) over the eight laps as the Americans outlasted the Netherlands with a time of 3:38.81. Meanwhile, the Dutch switched leaders on and off throughout the race. For Mantia, a native of Ocala, Florida, it’s the first medal of his career in his third Olympics.
Canada defeated Russia in the A final to win gold.
In the B final, Mantia replaced Glen Ellyn’s Ethan Cepuran, who skated for the U.S. in the semifinal. The decision to not include Mantia in both heats was perplexing to some in the speedskating community, who felt not rolling with him against Russia in the semifinals was a case of the Americans failing to deploy their best lineup. Casey Dawson and Oak Park native Emery Lehman competed in both heats to earn the first medals of their careers as well.
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