The Untold Truth Of Olympic Speed Skater Joey Mantia

Hailing from Ocala, Florida, Joey Mantia is considered to be one of the world's top inline skaters (via Jacuzzi). According to Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners, Mantia began skating as a child and would eventually join a roller speed skating team. Though he established himself as a serious athlete, Mantia was bullied in school for his sport of choice. Nonetheless, his hard work paid off, and he became world champion at 17. Despite his success, Mantia wanted something inline skating could not give him: Olympic medals.

In 2011, he left Florida and moved to Salt Lake City to train as an ice skater. Mantia later stated that his transition to ice was anything but graceful. He compared himself to Bambi "with bigger thighs" and admitted that he struggled to come to terms with the fact that his inline skating skills did not naturally transfer onto the ice rink. With time, though, Mantia overcame his shortcomings and eventually made it to the 2014 Olympic games.

Joey Mantia the champion

Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners reports that through inline skating, Joey Mantia is a 6-Time World Record holder and 28-time World Champion. In addition, he has won 3 Pan American Game Titles, 12 Junior World Titles, 15 World Cup Gold Medals, and over 90 National titles (via Team USA). When he felt he had done it all with inline skating, he moved on to ice skating. Within two years of his metamorphosis from solid ground to ice, Mantia officially launched his speed skating career in the 2013 World Cup Competition (per Jacuzzi).

This led him to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. According to WYNT, Mantia lost and stated that he was "crushed" as he felt Sochi was a "complete disaster." He also described the Olympics as an experience where one can have both the best and worst time in their life. Mantia returned to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang but once again fell short of receiving a medal (per ClickOnDetroit).

Joey Mantia's olympic dreams

Although Joey Mantia hasn't won any Olympic medals yet, he hasn't given up on his dreams. According to Team USA, he will be competing at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in February 2022. Now in his mid-30s, this might be Mantia's last chance to go gold. However, he has stated that he has "no interest" in coming home "empty-handed" (via Fox Sports). Mantia also expressed that this time around, it's less about the Olympic experience and more about winning. As he put it, he wants to live and die "by a gold medal."

This revelation came as Mantia was fresh off recent wins. He set a 1500-meter track record in January 2022, which led him to qualify for the Olympic team. Mantia has conveyed that this could very well be one of the last shining moments in his athletic career as he is nearly 36-years-old. While speaking to Fox Sports, he said he is "anticipating" depression after he retires because he sees it as losing part of his identity. For now, though, Mantia is focused on Olympic goals and disclosed that he made several efforts to "cut out" any distractions from his training (per Team USA).

How the pandemic has affected Joey Mantia

In February 2021, NBC Sports reported that Joey Mantia had recently recovered from COVID-19. Despite his recuperation, he did tell the publication that his body felt "weird" as he was still dealing with the after-effects of the disease. Mantia began to feel ill in December 2020 but attributed his symptoms to his brutal training regime. When a team member tested positive, Mantia himself decided to get tested. Shortly after, he tested positive and decided to rest for two weeks. He returned to the ice while still feeling the ramifications of the virus.

Even with his health struggles, Mantia still headed to a competition in Heerenveen, Netherlands, where he became the "second oldest speed skating world champion" (via NBC Sports). Per Fox Sports, he later said the pandemic had taken a toll on him as he was unable to "interact socially" with anyone outside of the skating world. In January 2022, Mantia told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he believed the U.S. Olympic long-track speedskating trials should have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Although fans were banned from the event, he told the publication he felt it wasn't "exactly a safe situation."

Joey Mantia off the ice

What does Joey Mantia do when he's not busy being a skating champion? Per Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners, he loves riding bikes and motorcycles. In addition, Mantia is a "huge lover of dogs" and regrets being unable to own more due to his hectic competition schedule. In 2018, he revealed he was the "owner and investor" of Coffee Lab, a cafe inside of the University of Utah (via Fast Company). Unfortunately, Coffee Lab closed down sometime in 2020, according to Instagram.

Per NBC Sports, Mantia is a big fan of YouTube and has used the platform to renovate his home, learn piano, and trade stocks. He added that all the knowledge he's acquired since high school was thanks to YouTube. In addition, Mantia told the publication that he is a "pretty big math nerd." Fox Sports writes that in 2019, he made only $30,000, as financial opportunities are exclusive to the Olympics. Mantia revealed to Team USA that he stopped renovating his Salt Lake City home to prepare for the Olympics but will continue the process after he returns home.

Joey Mantia, social media darling

According to Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners, Joey Mantia has a "very active" presence on social media. Notably, he has over 75 thousand followers on Instagram, where he posts daily about his training and athletic career. Mantia also films and edits videos for YouTube. With nearly 20 thousand subscribers on the platform, viewers tune in to see his intense workouts and skating tips. Although Mantia is less active on Twitter and Facebook, he still manages to post occasionally.

As for his sponsorships, they include Under Armour and Reign energy drinks (via Fox Sports). In 2018, USA Today reported that Mantia was single. His love for working out is common knowledge, and he is known for his motto that "everyday is leg day." In February 2022, Mantia made headlines for his "enormous thighs," which he regularly posts on Instagram. He plans to continue doing mass start events after the 2022 Olympics (per NBC Sports). After Mantia retires from skating, the self-taught musician wants to study music theory.