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Shani Davis’ world record broken by Russian

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Russian Denis Yuskov broke an eight-year-old world record held by Shani Davis in the 1500m at a World Cup in Kearns, Utah, on Saturday.

Yuskov, undefeated over 1500m this Olympic season, clocked 1:41.02 to take .02 off Davis’ record set in December 2009, two months before Davis won his second straight Olympic silver medal in the event.

Yuskov, a three-time world 1500m champion, is uncertain to compete at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

He may be ineligible to be invited by the International Olympic Committee due to a ban for marijuana from 2008 to 2011.

IOC conditions for inviting Russian athletes rule out those who have had doping violations, but an IOC spokesperson said after those conditions were announced that a decision on Yuskov has not been made.

Yuskov, 28, finished fourth in the 1500m at the Sochi Olympics, his first Winter Games.

Davis, 35, still owns the 1000m world record from March 2009, one year before he won a second straight Olympic title in that event.

He finished 13th in the 1500m on Saturday. The top American was Joey Mantia in fourth. Full results are here.

Davis has one top-10 finish on the World Cup this season, a fourth in a 1500m.

Yuskov became the first skater to break a world record in an individual Olympic distance since 2015.

The Japanese women lowered the team pursuit world record at all three World Cups this season, taking nearly five seconds off the time set by Canada in December 2009.

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MORE: Bergsma wins World Cup race after rival crashes

Heather Bergsma wins world title, could be top U.S. medalist in 2018

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After a disappointing Sochi Olympics, speed skater Heather Bergsma could be setting up for a historic rebound in PyeongChang.

The American reinforced her dominance in the 1000m at the World Single Distance Championships at the 2018 Olympic venue on Saturday, winning by .49 of a second in Gangneung, South Korea.

“I had hoped to [win], but I wasn’t sure what the other skaters were going to do,” Bergsma said. “I try not to hear times [of other skaters] before I went, because I just wanted to focus on myself.”

Japan’s Nao Kodaira, who won the 500m in Gangneung on Friday, took silver behind Bergsma. Dutchwoman Jorien ter Mors earned bronze after relegating Bergsma to silver in the 1000m and 1500m a year ago.

Full world championships results are here. NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will air coverage Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Bergsma will skate in the 1500m, her favorite race, and the mass start on the last day of worlds on Sunday, likely dueling with the Netherlands’ Ireen Wuest for gold in the former. Wuest, the most decorated woman across all sports in Sochi with five medals, won the 3000m at worlds on Thursday.

Bergsma could very well be the top U.S. medal winner across all sports in PyeongChang. The medal-projection service Gracenote has her winning three medals next year — gold in the 1000m and 1500m and bronze in the 500m. No American in any sport won more than two medals in Sochi. No American has won three medals with two gold at a Winter Olympics since Eric Heiden swept the five speed skating events in Lake Placid in 1980.

Bergsma has been on a tear since finishing seventh, seventh and eighth in her three individual races in Sochi as part of U.S. speed skating’s much-publicized failure for multiple reasons. She went into those Winter Games favored to become the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic speed skating medal since 2002.

“Really motivated, I just want to come back and prove that I can do it,” said Bergsma, a former inline skater from North Carolina who made her Olympic debut in 2010.

She moved to the Netherlands two months after Sochi and married Dutch Olympic 10,000m champion Jorrit Bergsma, who had proposed to her in April 2013 by etching “Will You Marry Me?” into Myrtle Beach sand on a family vacation. Bergsma is still learning the native language. On Saturday, she answered the first few questions in an interview with Netherlands broadcaster NOS in Dutch, then switched to English.

“I can understand it really good, but speaking, especially after a race, all the words just disappear,” Bergsma later said in a phone interview, adding that she takes hourlong Skype lessons five days per week.

In the last three seasons, Bergsma broke the 1000m and 1500m world records and won world titles in the 500m and 1000m. Teammate Brittany Bowe snatched the 1000m mark eight days after Bergsma reset it, but Bowe is out due to effects from a July concussion. Bergsma has not been as strong in the 500m this season and finished eighth in the worlds race Friday.

Bergsma used the 500m this week as “a wake-up to the system.” Training more endurance in recent years, her opening 100-meter times have slowed, and she’s less able to keep up with the sprint specialists.

“In the first 100 meters I’m losing half a second,” she said. “When you have an extra lap there or two in the 1500m, you’re able to relax more and keep the speed better. I feel better in the 1000m, but the 1500m is still one of my favorites.”

Bergsma could skate in five events at the Olympics — 500m, 1000m, 1500m, team pursuit and mass start — but the 500m is droppable given its place on the schedule, one day before the team pursuit begins. If Bergsma cedes the 500m, she would have at least one day off between each event in PyeongChang.

Also Saturday, four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis placed fifth in the men’s 1000m, .72 of a second behind winner Kjeld Nuis, the World Cup leader from the Netherlands. Canadian Vincent De Haitre took silver, followed by another Dutch skater, Kai Verbij.

The Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova won her 11th straight Olympic or world title in the 5000m. Germany’s Claudia Pechstein, a 44-year-old with nine Olympic medals, took silver, 1.55 seconds behind.

Jorrit Bergsma took silver, 5.06 seconds behind Sven Kramer in the 10,000m. Bergsma was one second faster than Kramer through 23 of 25 laps in the grueling, 13-minute race, before fading horribly in the last 800 meters.

MORE: 18 U.S. Olympic hopefuls to watch for PyeongChang

Shani Davis hopes he’s on track for 2018 Olympics (video)

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At 33, Shani Davis jokes that he’s close to being called a speed skating grandpa, but the four-time Olympic medalist said in January that he’s still considering a run for the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics.

“I still have that passion from when I first started skating,” Davis told NBC TMJ4 in Milwaukee. “I’m just going to try to time it, you know. I want to time it so that if I do make it to 2018, that I’m in the best shape physically and mentally.”

Davis, who took gold in the 1000m and silver in the 1500m at both the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, finished fifth in those distances at the World Single Distance Championships two weeks ago.

That marked the first time he missed the podium at a World Single Distance Championships.

Davis is the world-record holder in both events and won a surprise World 1000m title last season, after contemplating retirement during a campaign in which he had one World Cup podium finish (a third place).

“I’m not a middle-type-of-the-pack skater,” Davis said last year, before his bounce-back World title. “If I’m not competitive with the rest of the world, and I’m sixth and seventh and eighth, whatever, then it’s not for me. I can happily move on.”

This season, Davis also has one World Cup podium finish (a third place from Nov. 20). But, in the January interview, he sounded more optimistic about his future than one year ago.

“To try to save that energy just for those races at the Olympics and not spread myself too thin doing like, the World Cups and all these other races,” Davis told TMJ4. “The gold-medal part will always be something in me, but I won’t start thinking about that until the Olympic year.”

Davis can also take motivation from the Sochi Olympics, where he finished a disappointing eighth in the 1000m and 11th in the 1500m.

“It’s not a passing moment that I don’t think about 2014, but there’s nothing I can do about it now,” Davis said. “So it’s just moving forward and trying to correct the mistakes that we made there and, hopefully, four years’ time, we’re on the right track.”

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