Brittany Bowe

Brittany Bowe Claims Two World Championship Medals

Bowe Builds the Foundation for a Positive Outlook Towards Beijing

If anyone knows how to be resilient, it’s Brittany Bowe. The 32-year old has written a book on how to overcome adversity throughout her storied speed skating career. She wrote another chapter in that novel by collecting her 14th and 15th career world championship medals this past weekend at the 2021 World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships by winning the 1000-meter and taking home silver in the 1500-meter distance, respectively.


“The race went exactly how I replayed it time and time again in my head, and I was really happy to cross the line and see that green number next to my name.”

Brittany Bowe following her 1000-meter win

For the 32-year old, her path to today is beyond unorthodox and filled with physical and mental performances only elite athletes that have trained their craft and their minds are capable of overcoming. 


A collegiate basketball player, Bowe transitioned from inlines to ice speed skating in 2010. In just three short years, she saw the podium for the first time at the international level. This introduction to success couldn’t come at a better time as she prepared for the world’s biggest stage in 2014. 


She came into Sochi as a medal favorite having won four 1000-meter World Cup races, but being labeled a favorite doesn’t necessarily give you the fastest times. You have to perform when it matters.


“At the end of the day, I didn’t perform,” Bowe told the Chicago Tribune in 2015. “Whether that was in or out of my control does eat me up inside.”


That was it. Four more years until the next big stage. Time to hit the drawing board and reset. 


After identifying areas of opportunities with her coaches and support team, Bowe attacked her training and the World Cup circuit like a true champion should. Over the next two years, she set world records and won medals in 33 of her 39 World Cup races, including 14 gold. Bowe was setting herself up for success and nothing was getting in her way. Well, almost nothing.


During a training session in the 2016-17 offseason, she suffered a concussion after colliding with another skater. Her recovery was anything less than ideal. Initially to be considered a four to six week recovery, resulted in nearly a year away from the ice after medical experts also diagnosed her with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). As she told, she didn’t know if she would ever return to the ice but her determination and her will started a new chapter.


She had to start all over when she first came to the ice - taking baby step after baby step to regain her speed and slowly climb her way back to where she was before the injury - at the top. 


In what many considered an accomplishment in itself following her recovery, Bowe was able to qualify for the US Speedskating team in three distances going into South Korea. Despite not having a podium finish during the season, she returned home with three top-five individual finishes and a bronze medal in the Women’s Team Pursuit.


Eager to accomplish more and having been able to re-establish her confidence, she committed to another four years in order to get ready for China in 2022. Bowe quickly got back to being a consistent face on the podium the following two seasons, and then the world championships on the home ice in Salt Lake City happened.


After winning six consecutive World Cup wins in the 1000-meter, she placed eighth overall and was the second fastest American. Bowe simply said of her results, “It’s a nightmare.”


Determined to move past another mental roadblock, she rebounded with third place in a 1000m race at the World Sprint Championships before yet another setback. But this one was out of her control. The worldwide pandemic cancelled nearly all of her international competitions through the rest of 2020 and up until early this year, she had split time training in Florida with her family and back in Salt Lake City when they opened the ice. 


In January 2021, she entered the speed skating bubble for three weekends of racing set up by the International Skating Union. Heading into the bubble, she said she felt “mentally and physically strong, and confident.” It showed as she was the only American to collect a win over the first two weekends of racing.


Her most recent pair of podium finishes now give her 11 total world single distance championship medals and make her the most decorated U.S. woman in the history of the event.


“The trials and tribulations that Brittany has gone through as an athlete are truly unique and push the brink of mental resilience. As an athlete, her successes haven’t just been because of her physical performance but they have been monumental wins mentally. It’s this training of the mind that has enabled her to maintain peak performance regardless of the challenge she faces.”

Paul Winsper, Under Armour’s Vice President of Human Performance, Science and Research

Bowe has been able to tackle all of the negative thoughts. She has learned how to calm the nerves. She has achieved resilience. And it can be trained like any other skill. Her most recent performance puts her back at the top of the standings as a medal contender in both of her signature events heading into her possible final lap in Beijing.