Brittany Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic University basketball star, finished just shy of the bronze medal in the women’s 1,500-meter speedskating event at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Bowe came in at 1:55.54 on Monday, which was 0.28 seconds off the bronze-medal time. It was the best Olympic finish of her career. She placed 14th in the 1,500 at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Skating in the seventh pair alongside Poland’s Natalia Czerwonka, Bowe posted the time to beat, which stood until the 11th pairing.
“I feel great,” Bowe said after the race. “I feel super proud about that performance. I was able to execute what I wanted to execute. I was able to fight all the way to the end and leave everything out there on the ice.”
Bowe, who trains in Ocala and is one of five Floridians competing at the Olympics, skated 28.42 seconds in her first 400m lap, followed by a 30-second and 32-second lap to end the race.
“Just to be able to give my best effort, to give my best skate that I’ve had in a couple years and then to look up and see my family in the stands and know everybody back home in Florida is probably up watching, it’s just a great experience,” Bowe said. “I’m super grateful to be here.”
Bowe played point guard at FAU from 2006 to 2010 and is No. 8 on the Owls’ all-time scoring list, No. 4 in assists and No. 9 in steals.
In February 2010, she watched the Vancouver Olympics and saw that some of her former inline roller skating competitors had switched to speedskating on ice. She was intrigued, and decided to make the transition. She moved to Salt Lake City, and joined Derek Parra’s Wheels to Ice training program. Her big breakthrough came at a World Cup in Germany in 2013, when she won the 1,000.
Bowe won the 500-meter and 1,500-meter at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials last month in Milwaukee and will compete in the 500 later this week.