Shani Davis

Shani Davis wins in Salt Lake City; women’s world record broken (video)

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U.S. speed skaters flexed their muscle with three medals to open the Salt Lake City World Cup on Friday.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis won the 1500m in 1 minute, 41.98 seconds, his fastest time since his world record 1:41.04 in 2009. Davis, who won gold in the 1000m and silver in the 1500m in Torino and Vancouver, also won two medals last weekend in Calgary.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the U.S. has been the emergence of Brian Hansen, 23, who finished second to Davis in the 1500m with a personal best 1:42.16.

Hansen, who won silver in the team pursuit in 2010 as the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic speed skating team, finished third in the 1000m last weekend and appears to be turning into an individual Olympic medal contender.

South Korea’s Lee Sang-Hwa broke her world record in the women’s 500m for the second straight week. She clocked 36.57, easily beating her week-old mark of 36.74, in the first of two sprints this weekend.

China’s Wang Beixing finished second (36.85), earning her third medal of the young World Cup season. American Heather Richardson, who won the 1000m in Calgary, continued her fast start to the season, taking third in 36.97 in a race that normally isn’t her specialty.

Wang and Richardson became the second and third women ever to break 37 seconds.

“For the 500, it’s just you and one other person and you switch lanes on the back stretch, so I really try to focus on if I was to false start, what’s in the race and then I gradually picture myself winning the race just to end on a positive note so that I’m ready for anything during the race,” Richardson said earlier this year.

The first men’s 500m was closer. Japan’s Joji Kato and Canada’s Gilmore Junio tied for first in 34.25. The 23-year-old Junio’s gold was surprising, his second career World Cup medal.

The Netherlands’ Michel Mulder crossed .01 behind Kato and Junio. Mulder’s bronze matched twin brother Ronald’s finish in Calgary.

Americans Mitchell Whitmore (34:29) and Tucker Fredricks (34.30) finished fourth and fifth. Both posted personal bests. Fredricks, a two-time Olympian, won the second 500m last weekend.

“Health-wise, it’s up and down, I’ve been having a back problem the past couple of years so that was hurting me last year and end of this year,” Fredricks said last month. “It’s been a lot better, but I still have to take care of it, keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t act up too much.”

The women’s 3000m ended with a decorated pair battling for gold. Czech Martina Sablikova, who won two gold medals in Vancouver, won in 3:57:79.

Germany’s Claudia Pechstein, a nine-time Olympic medalist who missed the 2010 Games because of a blood-doping ban, finished .01 behind.

Pechstein, who can become the most decorated female Winter Olympian with one medal in Sochi, won gold last week in the 3000m with Sablikova finishing second.

Races continue Saturday at 10:45 a.m. ET and continue through Sunday.

Salt Lake City World Cup Day 1

Women’s 500m Race 1
1. Lee Sang-hwa (KOR) 36.57 WR
2. Wang Beixing (CHN) 36.85
3. Heather Richardson (USA) 36.97
8. Brittany Bowe (USA) 37.32
12. Lauren Cholewinski (USA) 37.60
20. Elli Ochowicz (USA) 38.25

Men’s 500m Race 1
1. Joji Kato (JPN) 34.25
1. Gilmore Junio (CAN) 34.25
3. Michel Mulder (NED) 34.26
4. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 34.29
5. Tucker Fredricks (USA) 34.30

Women’s 3000m
1. Martina Sablikova (CZE) 3:57.79
2. Claudia Pechstein (GER) 3:57.80
3. Antoinette de Jong (NED) 3:59.49

Men’s 1500m
1. Shani Davis (USA) 1:41.98
2. Brian Hansen (USA) 1:42.16
3. Koen Verweij (NED) 1:42.28
8. Trevor Marsicano (USA) 1:43.02

Poland short track speed skaters turn to Playboy for funding

Why did Shaun White cut his hair? Carrot Top

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Shaun White said a revelatory chat with Carrot Top led to the Olympic snowboarding champion chopping off his flowing red locks more than seven years ago, according to a report.

“I went to an event in Vegas where I run into Carrot Top,” White wrote, according to a Bleacher Report AMA last Wednesday. “We were talking about our hair and he basically looked at me like you could see into his soul and he basically said he was stuck like this. And at that point it was like seeing the ghost of Christmas future. And at that point I was like omg I can change.”

White documented a meeting with Carrot Top on social media in September 2013, but that was 10 months after the haircut. They must have met in 2012, too.

White, formerly known as the Flying Tomato, posted video of the haircut in December 2012, saying he didn’t tell anybody beforehand. He had grown tired of the nickname.

He donated the hair to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for needy children.

White is known for charitable efforts for children, including with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. White was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, requiring two major surgeries before his first birthday.

White, a 33-year-old who recently changed his hair color to blond, announced in February that he ended a bid to make the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team for the Tokyo Games.

He is expected to compete for a spot in the 2022 Winter Olympics, where he could be the oldest U.S. Olympic halfpipe rider in history.

MORE: White, Shiffrin among dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s

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Susie O’Neill, Australian great, answers Katie Ledecky by balancing beer while swimming

Susie O'Neill
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Katie Ledecky‘s feat of balancing a glass of chocolate milk while swimming reverberated Down Under, where one of Australia’s Olympic legends attempted to mimic it with a cup of beer.

Susie O’Neill, an eight-time Olympic medalist from 1992-2000 known as Madame Butterfly, accepted a challenge put forth by her fellow radio show hosts. In video shared across Australian media, she took 13 strokes before the beer came off her head, just before reaching a wall.

“It’s actually not as hard as I expected,” O’Neill said in an Instagram Live. “Well, it was pretty hard.”

O’Neill, 47, said backstrokers sometimes train with a water bottle on their foreheads to stay straight. But O’Neill, a freestyler and butterflier, never balanced anything on her head while training.

MORE: O’Neill in tears watching Sydney Olympic defeat for first time

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