Heather Richardson, Tucker Fredricks close Calgary World Cup with wins (video)

Heather Richardson
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The U.S. finished off an impressive weekend at the opening World Cup of the speed skating season.

The top two American women made the podium in the 1000m, and Tucker Fredricks won the 500m.

Heather Richardson, the reigning World Cup 1000m season champion and World Sprint champion, took home gold in Calgary in 1 minute, 13.23 seconds.

Teammate Brittany Bowe placed third (1:13.70) after beating Richardson in the 500m, 1000m, and 1500m at the U.S. Championships two weeks ago.  The two have known each other since their early days racing inline. Bowe, a former college basketball player, was inspired to make the transition to the ice after watching Richardson on TV at the 2010 Olympics.

“We train together, we live together, we hang out together, we are with each other all the time,” Richardson said of Bowe earlier this year. “So it’s really nice that we grew up together and now we are here at the same stage together.”

The Netherlands’ Lotte van Beek (1:13.36) won silver in the 1000m, adding to her gold in the 1500m Saturday.

Bowe and Richardson came back later for the team pursuit, along with Jilleanne Rookard, and finished eighth behind the winning Dutch.

In the opening race of the day, the veteran Fredricks won the second men’s 500m by .01 of a second.

Fredricks, 29, clocked 34.46 seconds, just enough to beat South Korean Mo Tae-Bum by the slimmest margin.  Fredricks entered with momentum. His time in the 500m B division Friday would have won the A division.

Fredricks, who was 25th and 12th at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, has 30 World Cup medals and plans to make 2014 his final Games. He won his first World Cup race since March 2012.

“To tell you the truth, I really want an Olympic medal, and that’s what I’m still skating for,” he said earlier this year.

The Netherlands’ Ronald Mulder and Canadian veteran Jamie Gregg (34.52) tied for third.

In the 5000m, Olympic champion Sven Kramer showed he hasn’t relinquished the title of king of the distance races to any of his Dutch teammates. Kramer dominated, winning by more than two seconds in 6:04.46 ahead of Jorrit Bergsma (6:06.93).

Bergsma beat Kramer in the 10,000m at the World Single Distance Championships earlier this year, proving that Kramer wasn’t invincible.

Kramer won the 5000m at the Vancouver Olympics but was disqualified in the 10,000m and lost a sure gold after an illegal lane shift waved on by his coach.

Calgary World Cup — Sunday

Men’s 500m (Race 2)
1. Tucker Fredricks (USA) 34.46
2. Mo Tae-Bum (KOR) 34.47
3. Ronald Mulder (NED) 34.52
3. Jamie Gregg (CAN) 34.52
5. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 34.56

Women’s 1000m
1. Heather Richardson (USA) 1:13.23
2. Lotte van Beek (NED) 1:13.36
3. Brittany Bowe (USA) 1:13.70

Men’s 5000m
1. Sven Kramer (NED) 6:04.46
2. Jorrit Bergsma (NED) 6:06.93
3. Seung-Hoon Lee (KOR) 6:07.04

Women’s Team Pursuit
1. Netherlands 2:57.82
2. Japan 2:58.53
3. Poland 2:59.42
8. U.S. 3:00.98

World Cup speed skating season storylines