Ocala’s Brittany Bowe fails to medal in 1000m speed skate

Brittany Bowe of the U.S. waves to fans after the women's 1,500 meters speedskating race at the Gangneung Oval at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/John Locher)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (WFLA) – Ocala speed skater Brittany Bowe failed to earn a spot on the Olympic podium for the 1000m race, despite a time that placed her in second place after her race.

Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands won the gold medal in the 1000m after finishing in an Olympic record time of 1:13.56.

Ter Mors was followed by Nao Kodaira of Japan who won the silver medal and Miho Takahi also of Japan who won the bronze medal.

Ireen Wuest raced in the fourth pair and set the pace for the rest of the field early. In the end, the most decorated Olympic skater ever finished in ninth. It is the first time Wuest has not won a medal in an Olympic event she has competed in since 2010.

Team USA speed skater Heather Bergsma once again disappointed. Bergsma was in the final heat of the event and was unable to earn a spot on the podium with a time of 1:15.15.

Brittany Bowe finished in 1:14. 36, placing her in second-place after her race. Unfortunately, as was the case in the 1500m race, Bowe was moved off the podium late and finished in fourth.  Bowe is one of five Florida athletes competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

After an underwhelming performance at the Sochi Olympics, Bowe rebounded in record fashion to become one of the top 1000m and 1500m racers in the world. In 2015, she won her first gold medals in the 1000m and 1500m at the World Single Distance Championships, then claimed the overall title at the 2015 World Sprint Championships.

The next season, Bowe improved even more to break the world records in the 1000m and 1500m. She held the 1000m record until 2017. Her teammate Heather Bergsma lowered the 1500m world record just minutes after Bowe first broke it. Bowe and Bergsma’s friendly rivalry dates back to their childhood, when both were inline skaters who would occasionally compete against each other. Bergsma transitioned to speed skating first, and it was watching her at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that inspired Bowe to follow Bergsma onto the ice. When Bowe won a second consecutive overall title at the 2016 World Sprint Championships, Bergsma was just a step below her on the podium. However, Bowe’s run of dominance was derailed in the summer of 2016 when she collided with a teammate during training. The resulting concussion kept Bowe mostly out of competition for the next season, and symptoms lingered for close to a year. Bowe sat out both the 2017 World Sprint Championships and World Single Distance Championships to focus on her recovery.

The Sunshine State has become the hot spot for U.S. speedskating. Brittany Bowe, Joey Mantia, Erin Jackson and Mia Manganello all grew up skating on wheels for Renee Hildebrand, who runs one of the nation’s top inline clubs in Ocala, Florida.

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Check out more Olympic stories from PyeongChang. WFLA News Channel 8 Sports Anchor Annie Sabo is covering the Olympics and will be bringing you live reports from PyeongChang. Follow Annie Sabo on Facebook and Twitter.

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