Brittany Bowe wins world champs 1000m, tying for most titles at that distance

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Nearly one year to the day after a world championships experience that Brittany Bowe called “a nightmare,” she rebounded to win the 1000m world title on Saturday in the famed Thialf arena in Heerenveen, Netherlands, setting and tying records along the way.

With her 10th ISU World Single Distances Championships medal, Bowe became the most decorated U.S. woman in the history of the event, breaking her nine-medal tie with now-retired Heather Bergsma.

She is also now tied with German Anni Friesinger and Canadian Christine Nesbitt as the winningest women at this distance with three world titles apiece. Bowe also won in 2015 and 2019.

“This was my goal coming into the bubble, winning a world title, and thankful that I could come out with that today,” Bowe told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Bowe, who turns 33 on Feb. 24, won with a time of 1:14.28, 0.54 seconds ahead of 2020 world champion Jutta Leerdam of the Netherlands; the two raced head to head in the penultimate pair. Russian Elizaveta Golubeva was third in 1:14.848 for her sixth career world bronze medal. This is Bowe’s fifth 1000m world championship medal, one shy of Friensinger’s record six; Bowe’s span eight years, while Friesinger’s first and last were six years apart.

“You always want to be paired with the best and the most competitive and she is the reigning world champion; she’s got the target on her back,” Bowe said. “I pulled the nice inner lane today and skated a nice race, and happy to come out with that one.”

The American entered the 2020 world championships, held at her home rink outside of Salt Lake City, as the favorite. Though she was coming off a disappointing sixth-place performance at a World Cup, just prior to that Bowe had won seven straight 1000m World Cup races, the longest streak by any U.S. woman. After placing eighth in her best distance, she would leave the event with no medals for the first time since 2012.

“It was a great year overshadowed by great disappointments those two weekends, in particular the one weekend with the world championships, so it definitely relit my fire” Bowe told NBCSports.com entering this season. “I’m more determined than ever.”

This year, Bowe was all smiles as she crossed the finish line, raising both hands in the air with her index fingers pointed to the sky before she continued to pump her right fist in celebration of what she knew was a victory.

Bowe has been firing on all cylinders in both the 1000m and 1500m this season. With a shortened season due to the pandemic, only two World Cups were held – also in Heerenveen – and Bowe won both distances both times, continuing to improve throughout. Her 0.54 seconds over Leerdam at the world championships is her greatest 1000m winning margin this season.

The women’s 1000m was the fifth individual race contested this week and Bowe was the first of this season’s World Cup winners to also claim gold at worlds.

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In a tie, Wendy Holdener puts to rest a remarkable stat in Alpine skiing

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Swiss Wendy Holdener ended one of the most remarkable victory droughts in sports by tying for the win with Swede Anna Swenn Larsson in a World Cup slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Sunday.

Holdener, after 15 second-place finishes and 15 third-place finishes in her career, stood on the top step of a World Cup slalom podium for the first time. She shared it with Swenn Larsson, who had six World Cup slalom podiums before Sunday and also earned her first win.

They beat Austrian Katharina Truppe by .22 of a second combining times from two runs.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Holdener, 29, previously won three World Cups in other disciplines, plus two world championships in the combined and Olympic and world titles in the team event.

“To be tied first when I came into the finish was such a relief,” Holdener said while shoulder to shoulder with Swenn Larsson. “On the end, it’s perfect, because now we can share our first win together.”

Mikaela Shiffrin had the best first-run time but lost her lead midway through the second run and finished fifth. Shiffrin, who won the first two slaloms this season last weekend, was bidding for a 50th World Cup slalom victory and a sixth win in six slaloms in Killington.

“I fought. I think some spots I got a little bit off my timing, but I was pushing, and that’s slalom,” she said before turning her attention to Holdener and Swenn Larsson. “It’s a pretty special day, actually.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves next weekend to Lake Louise, Alberta, with two downhills and a super-G.

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Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
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Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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