Shani Davis

Shani Davis takes second in first race of speed skating season

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Shani Davis opened the World Cup speed skating season by matching his finish in the 1500m at the World Single Distance Championships in March.

Davis, 31, took second in the 1500m behind the Netherlands’ Koen Verweij in Calgary, Alberta, on Friday. The Dutchman won in 1 minute, 42.78 seconds.

Davis clocked 1:43.11 in his second-best event. Davis, a two-time Olympic champion in the 1000m, won Olympic silver medals in the 1500m in 2006 and 2010.

Races continue through the weekend. Davis’ best event, the 1000m, is Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Dominant South Korean Lee Sang-hwa won the first of two women’s 500m races this weekend in 36.91, beating veteran German Jenny Wolf (37.14).

The two best U.S. women’s speed skaters, Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe, placed fifth and 10th, respectively. Bowe skated a personal-best 37.69.

Claudia Pechstein, 41, won the 3000m in 3:59.04 over Olympic champion Martina Sablikova. The Netherlands’ Ireen Wust, the top all-around skater the last three years, was third.

Women’s 500m (Race 1)
1. Lee Sang-hwa (KOR) 36.91
2. Jenny Wolf (GER) 37.14
3. Wang Beixing (CHN) 37.40
5. Heather Richardson (USA) 37.61
9. Brittany Bowe (USA) 37.69

Men’s 500m (Race 1)
1. Ronald Mulder (NED) 34.41
2. Mo Tae-Bum (KOR) 34.52
3. Jamie Gregg (CAN) 34.52
8. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 34.68

Men’s 1500m
1. Koen Verweij (NED) 1:42.78
2. Shani Davis (USA) 1:43.11
3. Kjeld Nuis (NED) 1:43.75
19. Joey Mantia (USA) 1:46.28

Women’s 3000m
1. Claudia Pechstein (GER) 3:59.04
2. Martina Sablikova (CZE) 3:59.39
3. Ireen Wust (NED) 3:59.68

World Cup speed skating season storylines

Amy Purdy, Winter Paralympic medalist, to perform at Rio Paralympic Opening Ceremony

Amy Purdy
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Amy Purdy made her name as a snowboardcross bronze medalist at the Sochi Paralympics and runner-up on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2014.

In September, she’ll combine both.

Purdy will perform as a dancer in the Rio Paralympic Opening Ceremony on Sept. 7, in addition to being an NBC reporter during the Games.

She was told her performance will be four to five minutes. On “Dancing with the Stars,” her performances were about 90 seconds, she said. She traveled to Rio for a week of rehearsals in July.

Purdy, 36, survived bacterial meningitis in 1999 but lost both her legs and later needed a kidney from her father at age 20.

“I’m most excited about the concept of this dance,” Purdy said. “Just the idea of man versus machine. A lot of times we feel really limited because of our prosthetics. But this dance, hopefully, will kind of shatter those borders a little bit and allow me to move my body in a way I haven’t done before.”

Purdy is an innovator. She built her own snowboard and is seen as instrumental in getting her sport into the Paralympic program beginning in 2014.

A model, she’s been in a Madonna music video, a Super Bowl commercial, ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue and competed on “The Amazing Race” in 2012.

MORE: Rio Paralympic broadcast schedule

Sneak peek at Lindsey Vonn’s episode of ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls’

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Lindsey Vonn‘s episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” will air on NBC on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.

From NBC Universal:

“After roaring across crystal-clear waters in a speedboat, Bear and Lindsey must strip down and swim to shore before inching their way along the rugged coastline. After rappelling down a sheer rock wall, the two get inventive and use a spear-gun to traverse a hundred-foot deep chasm. With the sun setting, they collect a dinner of sea urchins and Bear challenges Lindsey to a swimming competition with hilarious results. Along the way Lindsey shares her journey of love, Olympic glory, and displays the focus and determination that has made her one of the most successful female athletes of all time.”

Vonn is returning from a Feb. 27 crash that left her with three significant left knee fractures.

With 76 career World Cup wins, she is 10 shy of the record held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark.

MORE: Lindsey Vonn wants to race men, retire in 2019