Olympic medalist, world speedskating champ Joey Mantia retires

Joey Mantia, a three-time world champion who won a bronze medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics, has retired from speed skating at age 37.

Mantia announced the end of his career in a post on his new Instagram Threads page. He took last season off to deal with back issues, hoping the time away would allow him to heal, but decided it was time to hang up his skates.

“Might as well make my first thread the announcement of my retirement,” he wrote. “It’s been such a good ride, but nothing lasts forever.”

Mantia, a native of Ocala, Florida, was a multiple world champion in inline skating who made the switch to ice in 2010. He qualified for the first of three Olympics at the 2014 Sochi Games and finally earned his first medal, a bronze in men’s team pursuit, at Beijing last year.

Mantia came up just short of another medal, finishing two-thousandths of a second behind the third-place finisher in the mass start.

Mantia was among a wave of skaters from non-traditional regions who made the transition from inline to ice, contributing greatly to American success in a sport that drew scant attention outside of the Olympics.

Remarkably, he was among three skaters from the central Florida city of Ocala who won medals for the US in Beijing. Erin Jackson captured gold in the women’s 500 meters and Brittany Bowe grabbed a bronze in the 1,000.

US national coach Ryan Shimabukuro thanked Mantia for contributing to the country’s “tradition of excellence” in speedskating.

“I learned from you just as much as you learned from me,” Shimabukuro wrote on his Facebook page. “

Mantia won mass start world championships in 2017, 2019 and 2021, as well as a bronze in the 1,500 at the 2020 worlds. He also was a World Cup champion at 1,500.

Mantia intends to remain active in the sport.

“Already loving coaching/helping others realize their potential,” he said.

Shimabukuro expects Mantia to have plenty of success working with the next generation of speedskaters.

“While your athletic career may be behind you, your best in yet to come,” the coach wrote. “I know you will grow into a great coach, sharing your passion for the sport with many others.”

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