U.S. speed skating finally caught a break, advancing to the team pursuit semifinal in the fourth and final spot. In what has been an abysmal performance in the oval for the U.S. in PyeongChang, the women's team pursuit squad will now have a strong shot at a medal.
Representing the United States were Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, and Mia Manganello. Carlijn Schoutens is the alternate for the team and can be used in the next round. The U.S. were not initially scheduled to compete in the event, but received a spot once quota spots were reallocated.
Manganello led the pack in the last couple of laps while Bergsma and Bowe pushed from behind, a strategy that paid off.
"This is our first time racing together so we had a strategy," Manganello said. "Our coaches and staff helped put us in a position to hopefully perform at our best and we knew we had to go out as fast as possible, and luckily we crossed the line and we were fourth."
In the semifinal, the Americans will face off against the Dutch women.
The Netherlands set a new Olympic record in the qualification heats, breaking their own record from Sochi.
"We are a really strong team. It was a solid race, not our best. The best will come in the final," Ireen Wuest (NED) said to the media.
Japan and Canada will meet in the other semifinal.
The semifinals will take place Wednesday, Feb.21.