The 2018 Winter Olympics are underway, and it’s nothing new for former UWM student Mitch Whitmore.
Whitmore, a graduate of Waukesha North High School, attended UWM on and off from 2007 through 2012 while also training at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. He began ice skating at 9 years old, and got into speedskating after seeing a newspaper advertisement for the sport.
The 2018 Winter Games marks the third consecutive Team USA appearance for Whitmore on skating’s biggest stage. The 28-year-old competed in the 500-meter event in both Vancouver and Sochi, and will do so again in Pyeongchang. He set a course record while winning the U.S. Olympic team’s 500-meter qualifier last month at the Pettit Center and placed third in the 1,000-meter qualifier for this year’s Winter Games. Only one Team USA speedskater competing this year brings more Olympic experience to the table than Whitmore – four-time medalist Shani Davis.
The U.S. hasn’t won an Olympic medal in the 500 since 2006, but Whitmore thinks he’s got a shot.
“I’ve got a lot of room for improvement still,” he said told a Team USA reporter after the qualifier. “We didn’t quite taper and peak for this competition as much as I will for the Olympics, and I think that will show, especially in the openers. I’m shooting for a 9.6 something. If I do that, I can win.”
The men’s 500-meter medal round is slated for Feb. 19 and the 1,000-meter medal round for Feb. 23.