Jordan Stolz is a unicorn. While most American speed skaters are converted athletes from another sport whether it be hockey, inline skating or short track, Stolz has trained especially for the ice ribbon since he was five years old. Thanks to a head-turning performance at U.S. Speed Skating Trials on home ice, the 17-year-old Stolz heads to the Winter Olympics not just a prospect for the future, but as a bona fide medal threat in the 1000m.
As part of our preparation for the 2022 Winter Games, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to numerous athletes to learn more about their lives both inside and outside of sports. Here’s what we found out about Stolz:
Tell us about your family.
My father, Dirk Stolz, is a police officer from Germany. He has always been very encouraging about skating. He put outdoor lighting on our pond so my sister and I could skate at all hours. My mom, who is American, was not so happy about that. She was always afraid we would fall through the ice, but she eventually got used to it.
Do you have any pets?
I have a feral cat named Silver. She is a long-haired mix. My sister and I caught her on a very cold (-10°) night. We saw footprints in the snow that went into a brush pile, so we jumped on it and caught her in a fishing net. She gives head butts for attention and sleeps 20 hours a day.
What are your favorite places in your hometown?
Jimmy John's, Texas Roadhouse or a few fast-food places I like to eat at in Kewaskum. The Fox and Hound's Restaurant and Tavern is one of my favorite steak places. It is a very old and rustic pub that serves buy-one-get-one meals so I can eat a lot! It is located in the hills of the Kettle Moraine near Holy Hill Basilica and National Shrine where visitors come to see spectacular views of this historical site.
Describe a typical training day.
I wake up around 9-10 a.m. and eat breakfast, do school online until 1 p.m., eat lunch, head out to The Pettit National Ice Center at 3 p.m. for warm-ups and ice practice. I return home about 8 p.m. eat dinner and go to bed.
What does a typical meal look like for you?
Breakfast can be eggs and toast, or waffles smothered in whipped cream and berries. Lunch can be pasta, rice, pasty meat pie or pizza. Dinner can be elk burritos, moose hamburgers, halibut tacos, or Alaskan salmon.
When did you first start in your sport?
I was five years old when I saw the 2010 Vancouver Olympics on TV. Seeing the speed skaters go so fast on the ice was exciting. My dad asked if my sister and I wanted to try skating, so we took a learn-to-skate class. He plowed off a short track on our pond and we started skating.
Earliest memory of watching your sport?
Watching Shani Davis and Apollo Ono in 2010. When I was six years old one of the coaches I had was Jeff Brand, the announcer at the Pettit National Training Center, asked if I wanted to be a national champion. I didn't know what it was but when he said I could be the fastest skater in the nation, I said YES!
What would you change about your sport?
More television coverage. While competing in the Youth Olympic Games in January 2020, we raced on the historic St. Moritz Lake, as they had back in the ‘20s. There was no live coverage of the races. Very little film coverage at all. All the other sports were televised. I started my Olympic dream and journey after seeing the 2010 Olympic coverage. Had I not seen the TV coverage of those games, I would not be in the sport today. I feel that it is very important to promote the sport with TV coverage so young people can see the excitement that speed skating has to offer.