Brittany Bowe nearly had to leave these Winter Olympics without a medal. It would have been a downright tragedy, as the American speed skater had a fourth- and two fifth-place finishes. Making it to the bronze-medal race in the team pursuit, she faced collecting another oh-so-close fourth-place finish, leaving her without a medal.

Instead, Bowe and the team from the United States beat Canada for the bronze medal, finishing just 0.45 seconds ahead of the Canadians.

The team had lost to the Netherlands in the semifinal earlier in the day. They had opted to rest Bowe, the best skater on the team, knowing there would be no catching the Dutch anyway. Japan won the gold-medal race by beating the Netherlands.

Bowe will now celebrate her bronze medal — her first Olympic medal ever — with teammates Heather Bergsma, Mia Manganello and Carlijn Schoutens. It’s the first Olympic speed skating medal for the American women since 2002.