Shani Davis’ gold headlines big day for U.S. speed skating

Shani Davis

Shani Davis showed he’s still king of the 1000m on Saturday.  

Davis, who won Olympic gold in the 1000m in 2006 and 2010, took first place in the distance in 1 minute, 7.46 seconds at the opening World Cup event of the speed skating season in Calgary, Alberta.  

It was Davis’ second medal of the weekend after a silver in the 1500m Friday.  

The Netherlands’ Kjeld Nuis placed second (1:07.57) after taking third in the 1500m on Friday. In a surprise, American Brian Hansen, who entered with one career World Cup medal in the 1000m, also made the podium, finishing third (1:07.64).

He wasn’t done there.

Hansen, along with Trevor Marsicano and Jonathan Kuck, earned silver for the U.S. in the team pursuit in 3:38.66. The powerhouse Netherlands took first in a world record (3:37.17), and South Korea finished third (3:40.53).

The Netherlands’ Lotte van Beek beat two Olympic champions in the women’s 1500m. Van Beek finished first in 1:52.95 with the Netherlands’ Ireen Wuest (1:53.30) placing second and the Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova (1:54.44) third. Wuest and Sablikova both have won two Olympic gold medals, while van Beek made five World Cup podiums last season.

The second of the women’s 500m races looked a lot like the first, as the top three finishes were the same on both days. Once again, South Korean Lee Sang-hwa took first, this time in a world record 36.74.

German Jenny Wolf (37.18) finished second and China’s Wang Beixing (37.30) placed third.

The top American women speed skaters, Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe, both cracked the top 10 again, as they did Friday, with fifth- and 10th-place finishes, respectively.

Races continue Sunday with the second men’s 500m kicking the day off at 1 p.m. ET.

Women’s 500m (Race 2)
1.  Lee Sang-Hwa (KOR) 36.74
2.  Jenny Wolf (GER) 37.18
3.  Wang Beixing (CHN) 37.30
5.  Heather Richardson (USA) 37.44
10.  Brittany Bowe (USA) 37.74

Men’s 1000m
1.  Shani Davis (USA) 1:07.46
2.  Kjeld Nuis (NED) 1:07.57
3.  Brian Hansen (USA) 1:07.64

Women’s 1500m
1.  Lotte Van Beek (NED) 1:52.95
2.  Ireen Wuest (NED) 1:53.30
3.  Martina Sablikova (CZE) 1:54.44

Men’s Team Pursuit
1. Netherlands 3:37.17
2. United States 3:38.66
3. South Korea  3:40.53

World Cup speed skating season storylines

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun

Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei

World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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