U.S. speed skaters bagged two more medals on the penultimate day of the final World Cup before the Sochi Olympics on Saturday.
Shani Davis and Heather Richardson won bronze in the 1000m and 500m, respectively.
The Berlin World Cup concludes with a men’s 500m and 5000m and a women’s 1000m and team pursuit Sunday. It’s the final opportunity for skaters to qualify Olympic quota spots for their countries.
The four-time Olympic medalist Davis saw his three-race 1000m winning streak snapped by South Korean Mo Tae-Bum. Mo, the Olympic and world 500m champion, clocked 1 minute, 9.50 seconds. The Netherlands’ Michael Mulder was second in 1:09.52, then Davis in 1:09.59.
American Joey Mantia, who won his first World Cup race in the 1500m on Friday, followed with his best-ever 1000m result, sixth.
Davis, the two-time Olympic champion in the 1000m, had won the first three World Cup races in the distance this season. The U.S. has qualified the maximum allotment of 1000m skaters for Sochi, four, which will be determined at the U.S. Olympic Trials in three weeks.
The U.S. also qualified the maximum four in the women’s 500m. For the first time this season, South Korean Olympic champion Lee Sang-Hwa did not win. She wasn’t entered simply for rest, according to a Dutch report.
In her absence, Russian Olga Fatkulina prevailed in 37.92, which was .04 better than China’s Wang Beixing. Richardson, the reigning world sprint champion, was third in 38 seconds.
The Olympic medal picture is fairly clear after eight races this season. Lee is an overwhelming favorite. Fatkulina, Wang and Richardson are all in the medal mix, too, along with German veteran Jenny Wolf.
The U.S. looks like it will qualify three spots in the women’s 1500m following the Netherlands’ Ireen Wuest‘s victory Saturday. The three-time reigning world allround champion clocked 1:55.33, beating Poland’s Katarzyna Bachleda-Curus by a comfortable .6. Dutchwoman Lotte van Beek was third, and American Brittany Bowe was sixth.
Wuest passed Bowe as the World Cup leader in the distance after four races and looks like the Sochi gold-medal favorite.
Davis and Mantia joined Jonathan Kuck in the team pursuit and took ninth behind the winning Netherlands. The Dutch have won all three team pursuits this season. The U.S. was second in the first two team events.
Berlin World Cup
Women’s 500m — Race 2
1. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) 37.92
2. Wang Beixing (CHN) 37.96
3. Heather Richardson (USA) 38.00
16. Elli Ochowicz (USA) 38.99
19. Lauren Cholewinski (USA) 39.21
1. Mo Tae-Bum (KOR) 1:09.50
2. Michel Mulder (NED) 1:09.52
3. Shani Davis (USA) 1:09.59
6. Joey Mantia (USA) 1:09.98
12. Jonathan Garcia (USA) 1:10.19
17. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 1:10.44
19. Trevor Marsicano (USA) 1:10.53
1. Ireen Wuest (NED) 1:55.33
2. Katarzyna Bachleda-Curus (POL) 1:55.93
3. Lotte van Beek (NED) 1:56.28
6. Brittany Bowe (USA) 1:57.03
18. Jilleanne Rookard (USA) 1:59.90
Men’s Team Pursuit
1. Netherlands 3:41.46
2. South Korea 3:41.92
3. Poland 3;43.81
9. USA 3:47.67