Jordan Stolz became the youngest ever single distance world champion on Friday when he won the men’s 500m event at the 2023 ISU World Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, the Netherlands.
The 18-year-old American won in 34.10 seconds, just 0.03 seconds slower than the track record and 0.36 seconds faster than runner-up Laurent Dubreuil.
“I think it was a perfect race,” Stolz said on the website of the International Skating Union (ISU).
“When I enter the lean, there’s a point in the turn where I just let off the gas, 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 accomplished previously by Beth Heiden in 1979 and Eric Heiden in 1977 and 1978.
Stolz is already being compared to fellow Wisconsinite Eric Heiden, a speed skating legend who won five gold medals at the 1980 Olympics.
Stolz became the youngest man ever to win an individual World Cup speed skating race earlier this season and won five medals, including three golds, at last month’s World Junior Speed Skating Championships.
Canada’s Dubreuil started the race as the defending champion and favorite, but finished second to a “unbelievable” Stolz.
“Of course, I’m aiming for gold, but if Jordan skates 34.10 like that, there’s not much I can do,” Dubrueil said afterwards to the ISU.
“He’s incredible. It’s probably like trying to beat Michael Jordan or something. I consider myself fortunate to be competing against a skater of this caliber. He’s accomplishing feats that we would have thought impossible.”
On Saturday, Stolz will also compete in the men’s 1000m event.