Wisconsin Teen May Be Redefining Speedskating

Jordan Stolz stuns at world champions, leaves rivals and observers marveling at his technique
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2023 8:40 AM CST
Updated Mar 11, 2023 12:55 PM CST
Wisconsin Teen Stuns the Skating World
Jordan Stolz of the US celebrates winning his third gold medal in Heerenveen, Netherlands, Sunday, March 5, 2023.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

To say that US skater Jordan Stolz did well at this weekend's world championships in the Netherlands would be a monumental understatement. When the 18-year-old from Kewaskum, Wisconsin, won the 500 meters on Friday night, he became the youngest skater to win gold in the single-distance championships, reports the Guardian. But before the weekend was over, he also won the 1000 meters and the 1500 meters, making him the first man to win three individual golds at the event. But the feat is also about how he won, as Kevin Draper explains in the New York Times. Draper writes that Stolz's technique on turns appears to be something close to revolutionary, which is why he "well and truly arrived as the future of speedskating" this weekend.

Draper offers some details on Stolz's move on the final curve of the 500-meter race, writing that he "leaned aggressively to his left, walking his skates as if he were on a tightrope. It looked like a magic trick, as if at any moment you would spot the translucent cable keeping him upright and pulling him through the turn." Two examples of appreciation:

  • “How long he is on his left before he drops the right skate is just something that I don’t think I’ve seen in a speedskater before,” says Laurent Dubreuil, a rival skater who acknowledges that he's been trying to copy the technique.
  • “With the calmness as if he could spread a peanut butter sandwich at 60 kilometers per hour,” tweeted Dutch speedskater Mark Tuitert, winner of three Olympic medals. He called it the best final inner curve in the history of the sport.

Stolz grew up skating on a backyard pond in Kewaskum, about 45 minutes north of Milwaukee, per the Guardian. "I felt really good this weekend, better than I have all year, and also peaking too," he tells the hometown Journal Sentinel by phone. "I just felt super good on the ice. So technically, yeah, I think it was the best time ever skated, especially in the 500 and 1000. The 1,500 was pretty good—near perfect." Adds coach Bob Corby from the Netherlands: "No one here can believe what he is doing." (More speedskating stories.)

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