American teenage speed skating sensation Jordan Stolz becomes youngest ever world champion
(CNN) — Jordan Stolz won the men’s 500m event at the 2023 ISU World Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, the Netherlands on Friday to become the youngest ever single distance world champion.
The 18-year-old American blew away his competition with a time of 34.10 seconds, only 0.03 seconds shy of the track record and 0.36 seconds ahead of runner up Laurent Dubreuil.
“I think it was a perfect race,” Stolz told the International Skating Union (ISU) website.
“There’s a point in the turn where I just let off the gas, when I enter the lean, and then there’s just a point where I could keep building.”
Stolz also became the first speed skater in more than 40 years to win both junior and senior world titles in the same season, a feat only previously accomplished by Beth Heiden in 1979 and Eric Heiden in 1977 and 1978.
Already, Stolz is drawing comparisons to his fellow Wisconsinite Eric Heiden, one of speed skating’s greatest figures, who won five gold medals at the 1980 Olympic Games.
Earlier this season, Stolz became the youngest ever man to win an individual World Cup speed skating race and won five medals, including three golds, at last month’s World Junior Speed Skating Championships.
Canada’s Dubreuil began the race as the defending champion and favorite but had to settle for silver behind an “unbelievable” Stolz.
“Of course I’m shooting for gold, but if Jordan skates 34.10 like that, there’s not much I can do about it,” Dubrueil told the ISU afterwards.
“He’s unbelievable. It’s like trying to beat Michael Jordan or something, I assume. I feel privileged to go against a skater this good. He’s doing things that we would have deemed impossible.”
Stolz is also scheduled to compete in the men’s 1000m event on Saturday.