HEERENVEEN, the Netherlands — Jordan Stolz, an 18-year-old American speedskater who is already one of the best in the Sport, This weekend’s race will be in front of 12,500 screaming spectators Dutch His first international speedskating championships were attended by many fans.
Nearly all will be rooting for You will not win.
Fans will cheer for Yes, they are their countrymen. But, they also hope that Stolz doesn’t immediately realize his potential to be dominant the sport for the next decade. Stolz will be in attendance at these championships. Dutch Territories, both literally and metaphorically.
He had never raced before this season in front of more than a handful of people. the coronavirus pandemic and speedskating’s lack of popularity in the United States. Interview this week in the Thialf stands the Famous Dutch Stolz was excited for the future.
“Skating in general, in an arena that is just empty, is a little bit boring,” Stolz said. “So, when there is a crowd, it is for sure amplifying.” He said: “If they want me to crash, then hopefully it doesn’t happen.”
Bob Corby, his coach, seemed positively thrilled about the occasion the possibility. “Is he ready to be the villain?” Corby asked the question in an email. “Oh yeah! He is definitely ready for that!” Corby also said that “He likes beating the Dutch!”
Dutch Speedskaters are winners the Since 1996, the most medals received at any Olympics the Nagano Games 1998, the Many professional teams are supported in the country. The Netherlands boasts eight fully indoor speedskating arenas for its nearly 18,000,000 inhabitants. the The United States currently has two.
Best Dutch Stolz is a skater who openly confesses to it. the Their biggest threats. Thomas Krol, an Olympic champion who has struggled this season, identified Stolz, along with Krol’s compatriots Hein Otterspeer and Kjeld Nuis, as the Favorites in races of 1,000-meter or 1,500-meter.
“I was hoping to say I was the top favorite, but I have to be realistic,” Krol stated. “The top favorites in the 1,000 are Hein and Jordan. And in the 1,500, Kjeld and Jordan as well.”
It can be as high as the Dutch Stolz is their goal, but they want him to succeed.
Stolz’s most dramatic race of the Two weeks ago, season began in Poland. the Weekend after skating a leg-deadening 22,000 meters in eight races, he was crowned the winner. the Junior world championships These are the In the He was 1,500m long and was paired up with Nuis who holds the Record for the world and record for is the two-time defending Olympic champion in the event.
Nuis maintained a substantial lead entering the year. the Stolz rode the perfect line for 200 metres after that. the Final curve, slingshotted ahead and seemingly becoming even more powerful the Final straightaway, Nuis visible to be faded.
“I thought: He arrives with tired legs,” Nuis said NOS. the Dutch After national broadcaster the race. “And then you get spanked.”
A warning was given to him for His competitors: “At the world championships, he will be better than today,” Nuis said.
An even more notable interaction between the Two of them occurred during the World Cup in Heerenveen in November.
During an interview with NOS Stolz said there wasn’t “more than a 10-percent chance” that he would break Nuis’s track record in the 1,500 meters. This headline is the This article is about the Stolz said that interview was not possible. “dreams” Breaking the Track record
He came in at the ninth spot, however. Following the Nuis and race scolded NOS for Its headline. “I don’t like putting words in an 18-year-old boy’s mouth,” He said.
Nuis claimed that Stolz was his defence because of his career struggle. It started when Stolz began enjoying success and everyone expected him to win the World Championships. “Everyone said, ‘Ahh, of course you will win.’ That is the hardest thing to say to an athlete: ‘It will be easy.’ It is never easy. Jordan, or when I skate good, we make it look easy, but it is not.”
There is tremendous pressure to win and this can make it very difficult. Nuis said he began doing “mental training” How to Deal with the expectations. Krol claimed that he saw a psychologist when he won the world championship medals. However, he began to view every race as an indicator of whether or not he was able make and win. the Olympics.
Stolz, a 17 year-old boy, was qualified for the last race. for the Olympics Beijing. However, his 13th-place finish was the best. “The Olympics is a whole new beast,” Joey Mantia won a bronze in the Olympics. the The United States pursues these Games teams. “You see a ton of great athletes their first time through; it’s the experience that matters the first time.”
the Stolz returned to the United States months later. the Top of speedkating. He was the winner of four World Cup races. the Most of all men, he collected nine medals. He was the winner the Season in the The top five the 500m, 1000m, and 1,500m, even though they compete in just five of the six World Cups.
His World Cup miss was in conflict with the Inzell, Germany – Stolz was victorious in speedskating at the junior world championships. the “allround” Titel in a Runde, collecting four medals of gold and two medals of bronze.
The extraordinary four-month competition has made speedkating stars confident about their future success. for Stolz seems nearly impossible to visualize.
“If he continues on his path, he will crush through a couple short-distance world records, if not all three,” Mantia stated. “I think he has medal opportunities in five events in the next Olympics.”
If predictions of world records — he already holds two junior world records and the The American National Record the 500 meters, which he will also race this weekend — weren’t grandiose enough, Stolz is being earnestly compared to perhaps the greatest speedskater ever.
“I don’t dare to say because it is a big comparison, but obviously he looks like the modern-day Eric Heiden,” Gerard Kemkers is an Olympic gold medalist who was both a coach and mentor. the United States Dutch National teams
Heiden was 18 years old when he won only a handful World Cup events. Heiden took five gold medals and won the first world championship. the 1981 Olympics, when he turned 21.
“No, I don’t think it is unfair to compare them,” Corby, Stolz’s coach, said. “It is hard not to compare them because of his age.”
There are many parallels between the Two are uncanny. Both hail from Wisconsin. for the Olympics at 17 years old, but they didn’t win any medals. Both started winning the The next season will see them as 18-year olds. Stolz and Heiden both won their first World Championships at 18 years old.
One of the Few people will not compare Stolz to Heiden. Heiden was a skater who attended medical school and went on to become an orthopedic surgeon. for the Sacramento Kings. Heiden instead invokes another athletic prodigy. “I can remember when LeBron James walked onto the court and I saw him in his rookie year. There was just sort of this aura around him that I see around Jordan,” He said.
Heiden could still be talking about Stolz’s rise to stardom when he speaks of his stardom. “In ’77, I won the men’s allround world championships,” Heiden said. “The next weekend, I went to the junior world championships; it was like taking candy from a kid. I went to the world sprint championships, and my confidence was raging.”
Demands on Stolz’s time — from sponsors, fans and the media — are already rising, and soon the He will be exposed to the same pressures that Krol and Nuis have faced. He will perform as well as everyone thinks. the In the next three years, he’ll be one the The faces the American team the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Stolz felt optimistic three days prior to his first race. Stolz feels prepared and confident. He prefers to keep his eyes on what he is doing. the process. “And if it’s a perfect race and I still haven’t gotten a medal, then I’ll just have to accept that,” He said.
It is a sensible approach. for speedskating, a simple sport. You do not need to qualify or heat. There is no chance of rerunning. One race is the Black Race. the With skater the best time wins. Stolz has adopted a unique approach to chasing his first World Championship gold medal.
“When it’s all or nothing, you just have to go out like it’s all or nothing,” Stolz said. “So, I’ll just have to, I guess, send it.”