Special Coverage: Day Seven (Final Day)
Bowe, Mantia Win Marathon; New Golds Lift USA to 3rd in Final Standings
Colombia Collects 7 Medals to Cement Lead in Championships
USA's Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia won gold medals today to propel the United States to a third-place finish in the 2005 World Speed Skating Championships.
The golds came in the final event: the 42-kilometer marathon, which was skated on a 10-lap road course at Tiahu Lake in Suzhou, China.
Bowe's gold came in the junior women's divison (under 18); Mantia's in the men's. The two golds were USA's only medals of the day.
Both Bowe, 17, and Mantia, 19, are from Ocala, Fla., and members of Team Florida.
Bowe was far and away the top junior woman skater of the championships. She won nine medals in all: four individual golds, two gold medals in relay events, two silvers and one bronze.
Last year, she won eight medals at the world championships in Italy. This year, she doubled her harvest of gold medals, going from three to six.
Joey Proves Himself
Mantia won fewer medals at this year's world championships by a margin of seven to four.
But this year, he won his first-ever individual gold medals -- three in all -- to prove himself as one of the top inline speed skaters in the world.
He won his two gold medals last year in relay events. This year, the U.S. men won only one medal (a bronze) in the relays.
Last year, the U.S. men had the help of the powerful Texas skater Jordan Malone. Malone quit inline skating this year to devote himself to short-track ice, in which he hopes to compete in the Olympics.
Mantia was the clear winner of today's marathon. He was one of a group of 12 skaters who pulled away from the lead pack near the end of the race.
Then he handily won the sprint to the finish, crossing the line about 10 meters in front of second-place Julian Rivera of Colombia.
Colombia Rolls On
Despite the gold-medal performances of Mantia and Bowe, the day at Worlds belonged to Colombia.
The country not only matched USA's two golds (in the women's and junior men's marathon) but added three silvers and two bronzes to its collection.
Even without today's medal haul, Colombia would have finished on top in the overall medal count.
It won 39 medals, including 17 golds. Its women were particularly dominanant (as were the the U.S. junior women). They won all but two of the 12 track and road events.
Italy finished in second place again this year with 31 medals, including eight golds.
USA finished third with 19 medals, including 13 golds.
France tied USA in the medal count, but it won only five golds while collecting 10 bronzes.
The order of finish for the top five countries was identical to last year, except that France and South Korea swapped places in fourth and fifth position.
This year's championships bodes well for the future of the U.S. women's team.
Three of the U.S. junior women -- Bowe and the 16-year-olds Heather Richardson and Emily Scott -- won gold medals at the championships.
If Bowe keeps skating, the U.S. women should be strong for the next few years. (Bowe is also a top high school basketball player.)
The future for the U.S. men is less certain.
Mantia is likely to be back next year, although he plans to eventually train for ice.
But aside from Mantia, only one U.S. male (Chad Horne) won an individual medal at the championships.
No doubt the number would have been higher if it were not for the power of the Olympic Games to draw skaters to the ice.
Take a look at who's ahead in the medal count
Day 1 at Suzhou
Day 2 at Suzhou
Day 3 at Suzhou
Day 4 at Suzhou
Day 5 at Suzhou
Day 6 at Suzhou
Day 7 at Suzhou
Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson
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