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Park City’s Casey Dawson caps wild journey to Olympics with speedskating bronze

Speedskater’s journey to Beijing paid off, as he helped the USA to its first speedskating team pursuit medal since 2010.

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Team United States skates close together.

Team United States, led by Casey Dawson with Emery Lehman center and Ethan Cepuran, competes during the speedskating men’s team pursuit semifinals at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in Beijing.

Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press

Casey Dawson’s wild journey to the Olympics paid off.

The Park City native, who tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks before the Olympics, couldn’t produce the required number of consecutive negative COVID-19 tests in time for the opening ceremony.

After finally testing negative four times in a row, Dawson flew around the world, from Salt Lake City to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to Paris, and finally, from Paris to Beijing.

He arrived in Beijing just 11 hours before his first individual race of the Olympics on Feb. 8 and, because his bags were stuck in Paris, had to borrow skates from a competitor for that night’s race.

Dawson finished in 28th place of out 29 competitors in that men’s 1,500-meter medal race, but all things considered, it was a win just to get to the Olympics.

It was a good thing for the United States that Dawson was able to get to Beijing, as he helped the USA to a bronze-medal finish in speedskating team pursuit on Tuesday.

Reunited with his luggage — and skating equipment — the 21-year-old was part of the three-man team that competed in the B final against the Netherlands, with the winner receiving the bronze medal.

Great teamwork is essential in the event, as Dawson and teammates Joey Mantia and Emery Lehman have to skate very close together.

With five laps to go in the race, the USA led by more than two seconds. It wasn’t close from that point on as the Americans comfortably secured bronze by finishing the 3,200-meter race in 3:38.81, crossing the line 2.81 seconds ahead of the Netherlands.

“From not thinking I would be able to make it to the Olympics to a bronze medal. Speechless,” Dawson wrote on his Instagram story.

In December 2021 at a World Cup stop at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, the team of Dawson, Mantia and Lehman set the world record with a time of 3:34.47.

The U.S. couldn’t replicate that time at the 2022 Olympics.

In the semifinal, the USA — Dawson, Lehman and University of Utah student Ethan Cepuran — lost to the Russian Olympic Committee. With a time of 3:36.62, the Russian Olympic Committee finished 0.43 seconds ahead of the Americans to advance to the A final.

In the A final, Norway won gold with a time of 3:38.08. The Russian Olympic Committee was 2.38 seconds behind, turning in a time of 3:40.46 — nearly four seconds slower than its semifinal time — to win the silver medal.


How other athletes with Utah ties did in Tuesday’s medal events

Nordic combined — men’s individual large hill

Jared Shumate — Park City resident, University of Utah (current student) — 17th place out of 48 competitors.

Ben Loomis — Park City resident — 19th place out of 48 competitors.

Taylor Fletcher — Park City resident Westminster College (former student) — 23rd place out of 48 competitors.

Jasper Good — University of Utah (current student), trains in Park City — 34th place out of 48 competitors.


Athletes with Utah ties to watch in tonight’s medal events

Freestyle skiing — men’s slopestyle final

Time: 6:30 p.m. MST.

TV info: USA Network from 6:30-7:15 p.m. MST. NBC will broadcast the rest of the event starting at 7 p.m. MST.

Stream: NBCOlympics.com or Peacock.

Athletes with Utah ties:

Colby Stevenson — Park City resident, Westminster College (current student).

Alex Hall — Park City resident, University of Utah (current student).

Nick Goepper — Salt Lake City resident.