When the Salt Lake City region was invited into targeted dialogue for the 2034 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the assembled crowd at Salt Lake City Hall included US Speedskating Executive Director Ted Morris, who like everybody that day was already thinking about the planning process.
“We have a 10-year runway to get people excited about speedskating, get people excited about our athletes and get people excited about our events,” Morris said that day. “I love that we have this 10-year runway to build even more excitement toward winter sports here in Utah.”
Fast forward to a few weeks later and as US Speedskating hosted a second consecutive weekend of international competition, the ISU World Cup at the Olympic Oval in Kearns, excitement continued to build for the near and far futures with two world records set in three days with just under 5,000 attending.
“It’s always awesome to race on home ice in front of my family and to win on home ice is even better,” said Erin Jackson, who reigned in the women’s 500 meters. “It’s just icing on the cake.”
The World Cup weekend, one of the last events before the World Championships, showcased a number of present U.S. stars and those who are fast emerging on the world landscape. Jordan Stoltz of Wisconsin, all of 19, set a world record in the 1,000 meters on Friday with a time of 1:05.37 and finished the weekend with four gold medals.
“It’s nice to see Americans,” Stoltz said of racing at Kearns, the only U.S. stop on the World Cup schedule. “I like to see the stadium filled with U.S. people because that doesn’t happen too often.”
Kimi Goetz finished the weekend with one gold and two silver medals and a team of Casey Dawson, Emery Lehman and Ethan Cepuran set a world record of 3:33.66 in the men’s team pursuit, besting the world record Norway had recently set.
“It’s definitely an adrenaline rush,” Lehman said. “Usually with that race, three or four laps to go, I’m struggling to stay on my feet. But the whole crowd was screaming, I could barely hear my coach.”
There is, of course, not just one but two Winter Games between 2026 in Italy and 2030 in France before Salt Lake City gets its turn in the spotlight. That does not mean the anticipation for a decade away is not on the minds of competitors.
“I’m really excited for the future of this sport,” Jackson said. “We have a lot of really fast young people coming up and I’ll be excited to watch them. If I can still keep up by then, I’ll be happy to race as well.”