Joey Mantia

Joey Mantia wins Berlin 1500m; Shani Davis 8th

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A single U.S. speed skater won an event on the first day of the Berlin World Cup, but not the one many would have thought.

Not two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis. Not world sprint champion Heather Richardson. Not world-record holder Brittany Bowe.

Rather, it was Joey Mantia who won the 1500m in 1 minute, 45.80 seconds, .03 better than Poland’s Zbigniew Brodka. Davis, who won Olympic silver medals in the event in 2006 and 2010, was eighth.

Mantia, 27, had never finished better than 11th in a World Cup event after switching from inline skating in 2011.

This is the final World Cup stop before the Olympics. The number of skaters each nation will have in every Olympic event will be determined after this weekend’s results.

Czech Olympic champion Martina Sablikova won the 3000m in 4:02.25, edging German veteran Claudia Pechstein, 41, by .71. That was the final 3000m before the Olympics.

The U.S. should get two women in the Olympic 3000m, its fewest ever, as well as one in the 5000m, based on World Cup points and times. Which women will be determined at the U.S. Olympic Trials in three weeks.

Also Friday, the Netherlands’ Michel Mulder won the first of two men’s 500m races in 34.80, which was .09 ahead of South Korean Olympic champion Mo Tae-Bum. That moved Mo into first place in the season standings, followed by Mulder and then Mulder’s twin brother, Ronald.

South Korean Lee Sang-Hwa won her eighth straight World Cup 500m, beating Russian Olga Fatkulina by .35 in 37.36. Lee is the Olympic champion and world record holder. German Jenny Wolf, who was second in the World Cup standings, crashed on the final turn.

Davis still leads the men’s 1500m World Cup standings, ahead of his Dutch friend Koen Verweij. Mantia is eighth.

The Berlin World Cup continues Saturday.

Berlin World Cup — Day 1

Men’s 500m — Race 1
1. Michel Mulder (NED) 34.80
2. Mo Tae-Bum (KOR) 34.89
3. Keiichiro Nagashima (JPN) 35.01
8. Tucker Fredricks (USA) 35.17
12. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 35.36

Women’s 500m — Race 1
1. Lee Sang-Hwa (KOR) 37.36
2. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) 37.71
3. Wang Beixing (CHN) 37.79
4. Heather Richardson (USA) 37.80
7. Brittany Bowe (USA) 38.26
13. Lauren Cholewinski (USA) 38.67
19. Elli Ochowicz (USA) 38.90

Women’s 3000m
1. Martina Sablikova (CZE) 4:02.25
2. Claudia Pechstein (GER) 4:02.96
3. Ireen Wuest (NED) 4:03.50
11. Jilleanne Rookard (USA) 4:09.12

Men’s 1500m
1. Joey Mantia (USA) 1:45.80
2. Zbigniew Brodka (POL) 1:45.83
3. Denis Yuskov (RUS) 1;46.14
8. Shani Davis (USA) 1:46.74
11. Trevor Marsicano (USA) 1:47.28
19. Jonathan Kuck (USA) 1:48.55

Speed skating season storylines

Helen Maroulis to miss world championships, eyes still on defending Olympic title

Helen Maroulis
United World Wrestling
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Helen Maroulis, the lone U.S. female wrestler to win an Olympic title, sat out this past weekend’s world team trials, which means she will not compete at the world championships in September.

Maroulis is working her way back from blowing out her right shoulder in a first-round loss at worlds on Oct. 24, after she returned from a concussion. She underwent surgery in November and was cleared to return earlier this spring before tweaking the shoulder again.

Maroulis said Friday she was cleared again to compete at trials but chose rest, recovery and her long-term health given what happened in 2018.

“It’s not coming from a place of fear,” she said. “I’m just not ready yet.

“If trials were end of June, everything would be perfect. I’m still feeling good and confident for 2020.”

As Maroulis stressed at 2018 Worlds, she prioritizes health over wrestling.

“Not just for myself, but to set an example because I get a lot of messages from kids on Instagram — I have a concussion, or my teammate has a concussion.” Maroulis said in October. “There’s this wrestler mindset to just push through — you’re the toughest, find a way to win. But there’s just a lot more to it.”

Maroulis, 27, put together one of the most dominant stretches in sport from 2015-17, going 78-1 overall among three different weight classes and going unscored upon at two world championships.

In between, she beat Saori Yoshida in the Rio Olympic 53kg final, preventing the Japanese legend from a record fourth Olympic title.

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Ex-partner of deceased figure skater John Coughlin says she was abused

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of the former skating partners of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin has accused him in a series of social media posts of sexually assaulting her over a 2-year period.

Bridget Namiotka said on Facebook that Coughlin, who died by suicide in January, hurt “at least 10 people including me.” She skated with Coughlin from 2004, when she was 14, through the 2007 season.

Namiotka’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press that the comments were made by her.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating had given Coughlin, who became a coach and TV commentator after his retirement, an interim suspension for unspecified conduct. He was barred from attending events and activities sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Coughlin was found dead Jan. 18 at his father’s home in Kansas City, Missouri.