Jordan Stolz: 'the future of speed skating'

Posted at 6:26 AM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-20 06:37:27-05

The teenager hails from Kewaskum, Wisconsin with a population of approximately 4,000 people. The small-town skater has started to make a name for himself in the international world of speed skating.

It all started with the 2010 Vancouver Games. He wasn’t normally allowed to watch TV, but his parents made an exception for the 2010 Olympics, when Stolz was five. His mom said when short track came on, something clicked. A young Stolz was drawn to the sport and the magic of Apolo Ohno.

The next day Stolz and his family tried skating. It wasn’t at a public rink or a mall that Stolz tried skating for the first time, but rather his own backyard. Despite his mom’s fear of her kids drowning, she let them take the ice with one caveat – they had to wear life jackets.

It was a hit from the start. In home videos, Jordan and his sister are seen talking about when, not if, he would go to the Olympics. When he and his family realized speed skating was more than a hobby, Stolz joined a “local” team. His parents would drive him the 40 miles each day.

Like most Olympians, his parents sacrificed so their son could succeed. His dad, a sheriff, took overnight shifts so he could drive his son back-and-forth to practice.

The sacrifice isn’t lost on the 17-year-old, “I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”

Stolz burst onto the speed skating radar in December, when he had two World Cup finishes sub 35 seconds, which earned him a chance to qualify for the U.S. team. Coincidentally, the U.S. trails were held near his home in Milwaukee where he finished first in both the 500m and 1000m, while setting track records in both.

SEE MORE: U.S. Trials: Jordan Stolz wins 500m for 2nd Olympic spot

A dozen years after watching the Vancouver Games, Stolz’s own Olympic dream came to fruition. He skated in the 500m and 1000m race, finishing 13th and 14th respectively. While it wasn’t as high of a finish as he had hoped, he’s still very young for speed skating. For perspective, the other American speed skaters at the Olympics are in their 20s and 30s.

In the 500m, he was the youngest in the field of 30. He finished with a time of 34.85 and as the top American.

While he didn’t win a medal at the 2022 Winter Games, it’s clear the speed skater is just getting started. Before the Olympics, he earned the fourth best time in the 1000m in the 2021-22 season.

American teammate Austin Kleba summed it up best, “Jordan is a phenom,” adding, “you should definitely keep an eye on him.”

While there’s a lot of racing between now and 2026, he’ll definitely be someone to watch at the Milano Cortina Games. His fellow competitors have called him "the future of speed skating". Meanwhile, Stolz hopes that by just being at the 2022 Games he can inspire the next generation of speed skaters, like Ohno did for him.

SEE MORE: 17-year-old Jordan Stolz closes first Olympics with 1000m