Americans Win Bronze in Men's Speed Skating Team Pursuit

Team USA's Ethan Cepuran, Casey Dawson, Emery Lehman and Joey Mantia defeated the Netherlands in the B final to secure the bronze

team usa speed skating
Team USA. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Four American speed skaters just became 2022 bronze medallists.

Team USA finished third in the men's team pursuit speed skating event on Tuesday after defeating the Netherlands in the B final. The American team was made up of Ethan Cepuran, Casey Dawson, Emery Lehman and Joey Mantia.

Norway won the gold, finishing with a time of 3:38.08, followed by the Russian Olympic Committee in second. Norway also won the gold in the event back in 2018.

The Americans were expected to come out on top in the event, so there was some disappointment over the third-place finish. Still, for athlete Mantia — who, at 36, will likely not compete in another Olympic Games — any medal would do.

"I feel like the weight's been lifted in a sense," Mantia told the New York Times. "I'm an Olympic medalist."

team usa speed skating
The men's team pursuit speed skating final. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Dawson had quite the journey to make it to the Games, which has now proved worth it. The speed skater, 21, tested positive for COVID-19 in January and was not able to travel to China with his teammates. Dawson remained in Salt Lake City, Utah, testing repeatedly in hopes for a chance to still compete.

According to the New York Times, around 45 tests later, he finally got four negatives in a row, allowing him to begin his journey to Beijing, despite already missing the men's 5,000m race.

He flew from Salt Lake City to Atlanta, Georgia. From there, he was on a flight to Paris, France, and eventually, on to Beijing, where he arrived just before 7 a.m. in the morning local time — a mere 12 hours before the men's 1,500m race, the Times said.

Unfortunately, it wasn't all smooth sailing from there, as his luggage was lost. Luckily, he had packed his skating boots and uniform in a carry-on bag, but the blades for his skates were checked. Latvian skater Haralds Silovs, who uses the same type of blades as Dawson, had an extra pair that he lent to Dawson for his first event. Dawson's suitcase was eventually located.

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Winter Olympics, now, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

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