MANTIA - THE FASTEST MAN IN THE WORLD!
Joey Mantia skated the race of a lifetime tonight. With so many breaks for technical difficulty it amazed me to watch him keep his cool. If there was a plan earlier today.... it worked. He approached the line cool and calm. Set his feet in the "V" position. Balanced... reached back (daylight), rocked back... loaded and exploded.
The only problem was as Joey approached the line the clock had 17 seconds on it and was quickly counting backwards. By the time Joey left the line there still was one second left and they called him back because of a timing problem. Joey slowly rolled around the track wondering what he had done wrong. I was hoping that someone would be able to tell him it wasn't his fault but the timer.
They spent a few moments fixing the timer again... and Joey once again approached the line to set up for his 300-meter time trial. Like the well-oiled machine he is, he once again performed an almost flawless start. I personally thought he had a little problem with his transition into his corner. It wasn't fluid. It was off just a hair. But once he got through that corner there was no looking back. When he broke into the 24's, what few people that were left "oohhh'd and aaahhh'd" You could hear that famous call of his father Big Joe, "JOOOOEEEEYYYYY". It gives me the chills.
Joey would have to wait through 8 more skaters before learning that he was now THE FASTEST MAN IN THE WORLD!! Here is how the skaters finished:
1st - USA - Joey Mantia 24.756
2nd - France - Julien Despaux - 24.872
3rd - Italy - Gregory Duggento - 25.018
To make it that much sweeter.... when the last skater had completed his 300- meters and had not skated faster than Joey... All of the Men's Senior Team from Team USA jumped the railing and ran to him. They were grabbing and hugging him. They even performed "That Magic Huddle" with the Jr's and Senior guys.... I only wish that I had been able to take a picture. As Joey skated away from his proud teammates, he put his head in his hands for several seconds and then raised his hands into the air in triumph!! It is a night he will never forget.
On a personal note:
I have watched Joey grow from a young Junior Boy into a strong Senior Man. He has an incredible work ethic and I am proud to have had the opportunity to be here today to watch this young man achieve his dream. Congratulations Joey!!! Linda