KEWASKUM — On Thursday, Jordan Stolz did what very few have ever done. He broke the 1,000-meter speed skating record during his U.S. Olympic trial at the Pettit National Ice Center. What sweetens the deal is that he beat his coach and former Olympian, Shani Davis.
"It was just not becoming complacent with just mediocre stuff," Davis said. "I never gave him praise when he did things that were really well, exceptional. I never gave him the satisfaction. I always - he always asked, how was that? I'm like oh, that was a six. 'Are you sure?' I'm like yeah it was a six. Maybe it was a ten. But I would never tell him it's a ten. After he breaks my track record, he'll probably ask me how was that. I'll probably tell him a six!"
Lance Allan asked speed skating coach Bob Corby, "I remember when you told me, that this kid had the potential, and was possibly even better at his age than DJ and Heiden. Are you a prophet, or what are you?"
"No, no. I am not," coach Bob Corby says. "At their ages? When they're all 17, he is doing stuff that's unbelievable. The thing is, is that once they turned 18, 19? They started doing stuff that's unbelievable too. So we're still holding his feet to the fire. But a 17 year old making the Olympic team? It doesn't get any better than that."
Stolz's coach is excited that he is performing so well and has a shot at going to the Olympics as a teenager.
"You know it's a good step in the right direction for the future," Davis says. "You know I tried a whole bunch of times to break that track record. And now, little Jordan. Well, he's not little any more. But, he breaks, like not even breaks it. He destroys it. So I'm really happy. If anyone wants to break it? I rather it be him than anyone else. And I'm just really proud that, you know, I had something do to with it along the way."
So what is the ceiling for someone this good and this young?
"He's 17 years old. He's skating times just as fast, if not slightly faster than the best people in the world," Davis says. "We don't know. I think though, the sky's the limit."
Can he medal in Beijing?
"I am not counting this kid out of anything," Corby says. "I don't wanna put any pressure on him. But he just performs and overperforms and surprises you. And so, no. I'm telling him, 'By the way, when you come home from China? I wanna see some hardware.'"
For coach Bob Corby, seeing performances like Stolz's makes coming out of retirement to coach all worth while.
"Oh there's no doubt about that!" Corby says with a laugh. "This is really fun."