Britanny Bowe of the United States starts her 2022 Winter Olympics with the 1500m speed skating event on Monday. Bowe won the silver medal in this discipline and gold in the 1000m at the 2021 World Championships.
The 33-year-old is competing in her third Olympic Games. She finished fifth in the 1500m and fourth in the 1000m at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
In her way to a potential gold medal stands a giant of the sport: 35-year-old Ireen Wuest of the Netherlands.
Wuest has the most medals in speed skating history with 11 and won gold in the 1500 twice in the past three Winter Olympics.
She captured at least one gold medal in four straight Winter Olympic Games and has five overall.
Ragne Wiklund of Norway edged Bowe for the world title last season in the 1500m. No Norwegian woman has ever won a medal in this discipline, but Wiklund has emerged as a contender at 21 years old.
Japan’s Miho Takagi will look to get back on the podium after she finished second in the 1500m at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Her sister, Nana, is also racing in this competition. The duo was part of a gold-medal winning team pursuit squad in 2018 and are now in their third Winter Olympic Games each.
Six of the last nine Olympic medals in the women’s 1500m were won by Dutch skaters, including the last three gold medals. But, the field is wide open for Monday’s event.
Skaters will line up in staggered pairs and race against the clock. They will all get one attempt to secure the fastest time.
The athletes will be seeded according to Olympic qualifying event results, and the top-ranked skaters will perform last.
There are 15 pairs set to race, and Bowe is in the 14th pairing with Wiklund. Mia Manganello Kilburg, the second American in the competition, is in the fifth pairing.
The event begins at 3:30 a.m. ET on Monday. Visit NBCOlympics.com for a full speed skating schedule.