Is this the year the U.S. returns to the podium in the women’s 1000m speed skating?
Despite leading the event with 11 medals throughout Olympic history, the U.S. hasn’t won a medal since 2002 when they took both gold and silver in Salt Lake City. In the four Winter Olympics since, the Netherlands have built a dynasty of their own, winning six of 12 available medals. Japan has also emerged as a formidable foe, winning bronze and silver in PyeongChang.
World record holder Brittany Bowe is trying to change that.
Bowe has been a staple of the U.S. speed skating roster. She served as the substitute flag bearer for Elana Meyers Taylors after finishing second in the voting polls and entered Beijing with high expectations. While she won bronze in the 2018 team pursuit, Bowe is yet to capture an individual medal, finishing just outside the medal standings on multiple occasions.
Two races down in Beijing and Bowe has struggled to execute, finishing 10th and 16th, respectively, in the 1500m and 500m. The 1000m race is considered to be her strongest event as she currently holds the world record of 1:11.61 set in 2019.
That said, Bowe will have her work cut out for her with Japan’s Miho Takagi and Ireen Wust of the Netherlands in the mix.
Miho Takagi has already won three silver medals in Beijing. Meanwhile, Wust’s resume speaks for itself -- 13 Olympic medals, six of which are gold, and the first Olympian to win a medal at five Olympics, Winter or Summer.
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Wust is showing no signs of fatigue at this point in her career. The 35 year old already won bronze in the team pursuit and set an Olympic record en route to gold in the women’s 1500m
Fellow American Kimi Goetz will also be in the race. Goetz made her Olympic debut earlier this week in the 500m race, finishing 18th.
The event is set to begin at 3:30 a.m. EST Thursday morning.