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Special coverage: Day Four
2006 World Speed Skating Championships

Mantia Wins 2nd Gold, Sets 10K Record
But timing problem hinders 200 meters


Watching the Competition - USA's Dane Lewis (left), Jonathan Garcia and Joey Mantia await the start of Monday's 3000-meter relay.
(Photo: Linda Wood)

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson
posted Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2006

Medal Leaders:
After 4 days of racing

  • Colombia: 31
    11 gold
    10 silver
    10 bronze
  • South Korea: 20
    6 gold
    7 silver
    7 bronze
  • New Zealand: 9
    4 gold
    4 silver
    1 bronze
  • USA: 9
    4 gold
    2 silver
    3 bronze
  • Chile: 9
    3 gold
    2 silver
    4 bronze
  • Italy: 7
    1 gold
    2 silver
    4 bronze

Emerging from two days of setbacks, USA's Joey Mantia roared back into contention for the overall men's title at the World Championships today by winning the gold and setting a new world record in the 10,000-meter points race.

The gold medal put the 20-year-old from Ocala, Fla., into second place in the individual standings at the championships, just behind New Zealand's Kalon Dobbin.

But the day was not free of frustration for Mantia, who has been hampered by a series of problems at Worlds, including interference by competitors and questionable calls by officials.

In the finals of today's 200-meter time trial, Mantia's chances for a medal were hampered by a problem with the timing device. When Mantia skated his time trial (each skater races alone against the clock), the race computer failed to record his time.

Race officials allowed him to try again, as required by international racing rules. But they only gave him a few minutes to rest — the time it took for the last four qualifiers to complete their time trials. And when he tried again, his time (16.817 seconds) was slower than his qualifying time and only good enough for 10th place.

The Italian sprinter Gregorio Duggento won the event with a new world record of 16.209 seconds. In setting the record, the Italian broke the mark he set last year at Worlds by more than two-tenths of a second.

Junior World Coach Linda Wood said Mantia "looked really fast" on his first attempt in the 200 meters. Had the computer recorded his time, "I don't think he would have beaten Duggento, but he would have placed second or third," she said.

Mantia, however, did not let disappointment ruin his next event, the 10,000-meter points race. He often skips the grueling event but decided to compete because he had something to prove, Wood said.

Fifty-eight skaters lined up for the start of the race on the 400-meter road coarse. A South African skater sprinted to an early lead and took the first point, but then dropped out of sight. (Points are awarded by finishing first on specified laps).

Mantia and teammate Jonathan Garcia stayed at or near the lead during the 25-lap race, but they were constantly challenged.

Mantia collected three points but lagged behind Korea's Yoo-Jung Nam and Chile's Jorge Reyes Aguilar, who both had four points each.

That meant that Mantia would have to win the race outright to assure victory. (The first skater to finish the race gets three points; the second, two; the third, one. ... Ties are broken based on order of finish.)

At the start of the final lap, Mantia peeled off to the outside of the front pack and passed several skaters to take the lead. He went on to finish two-tenths of a second in front of Australian Michael Byrne.

His time of 13 minutes and 46.801 seconds broke the world record for the 10,000 meters. The old record (14.18.540) was set by Yann Guyader of France during the European Championships in July.

"Joey showed the world today that he is a force to be reckoned with and that he will be back," Wood said.

Aguilar and Nam both faded at the end of the race and finished behind the lead pack. But the points they collected earlier in the race were enough to give them the silver and bronze, respectively.

Junior Bronze

The only other bright spot of the day for the U.S. team came in the junior women's 10,000 meters. Brianna Kramer, 15, won the bronze with the help of teammate Emily Scott.

Colombia's Carolina Upegui took the gold. Chile's star junior girl Catherine Penan was third.

USA's Jessica Smith was only able to manage a 13th place in the women's 10,000 meters. Argentina's Silvina Posade won the race; Korea's Hyo Sook Woo was second; Colombia's Liano Holguin, third.

No U.S. skater won a medal in the 200-meter time trial. Brittany Bowe finished seventh in the women's division, four-tenths of a second behind the winner, Colombia's Jennifer Caicedo.

World Power

Colombia collected another three gold medals today to further solidify its position as the top country at Worlds. In all, its skaters have collected 31 medals in the first four days of skating.

South Korea remains solidly in second place with 20 medals. New Zealand is in third with nine.

USA also has nine medals, but it has fewer silver medals (and more bronzes) than the Kiwis, and so remains in fourth place.

Racing continues tomorrow on the road coarse in Anyang with the 500-meter sprint and 20,000-meter elimination.

Related reading
Special Coverage: the 2006 World Speed Skating Championships

Night Practice in Anyang
Team USA in Anyang

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2007 Event Calendar