Olympic speed skating wraps up on Saturday in Beijing, with men’s and women’s mass start. Unlike the long- and short-track events, the mass start adds a little chaos to the incredible pace as up to two dozen skaters all launch into a 16-lap race totaling 6,400 meters.
Team USA’s Joey Mantia earned his first Olympic medal earlier this week, winning a bronze in the men’s team pursuit competition. He’s the favorite in the mass start, but he’ll face some stiff competition from Bart Swings of Belgium. Swings won silver in 2018, the first time the event was part of the winter games.
In the women’s event, Dutch skater Irene Schouten is favored to win her third event at this year’s games. She took home gold in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter events. She earned a bronze medal for the mass start at the 2018 games in PyeongChang. Canadian Ivanie Blondin is another skater to watch. She won gold earlier this week in the team pursuit competition. Mia Kilburg and Giorgia Birkeland are two names to watch for Team USA. Kilburg, who’s also a professional cyclist, won bronze in the team pursuit in PyeongChang. Birkeland is making her Olympic debut. She won gold in the team pursuit at the Four Continents Championships earlier this year.
Olympic speed skating schedule: Saturday, February 19th
2 a.m.: Men’s Mass Start Semifinals
2:45 a.m.: Women’s Mass Start Semifinals
3:30 a.m.: Men’s Mass Start Final, gold medal event
4 a.m.: Women’s Mass Start Final, gold medal event