Inzell

Heather Richardson

U.S. speed skaters excel at first post-Olympic World Cup

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U.S. speed skaters quickly corrected whatever went wrong at the Olympics.

Heather Richardson and Brian Hansen won races on the final day of World Cup competition in Inzell, Germany, on Sunday. Brittany Bowe added a second-place finish, giving the U.S. eight podium finishes in Inzell after zero medals at the Sochi Olympics.

The Netherlands, which won 23 of 36 speed skating medals in Sochi, had 14 podium finishes in Inzell. It was the only nation better than the U.S. in three days of races.

The two most common explanations for the U.S. struggles in Sochi were a) a new skin suit billed as the fastest in the world that was thrown out after early struggles and b) the fact that most skaters trained at altitude (and a pre-Olympic training camp at altitude in Collalbo, Italy) and the Olympics were held at sea level.

However, U.S. skaters didn’t perform much different in Sochi after they switched to their old suits that brought them so much success in the World Cup season before the Olympics. They were still in the old suits in Inzell.

Inzell is about a half-mile high in elevation, but the U.S. performed well at a World Cup in Berlin in January that wasn’t much above sea level. Plus, some skaters, such as Hansen in Milwaukee, don’t train at elevation.

So what the heck happened in Sochi?

“I think we’re all asking ourselves that same question,” Hansen told Dutch media outlet NOS after his win Sunday. “We all know we were better than we performed in Sochi.

“Was it the skin suit? Was it Collalbo? Was it a coincidence? We don’t know.”

Richardson, who finished eighth and seventh in the 500m and 1000m in Sochi, won both 500m races and the 1000m in Inzell this weekend. She and Bowe went one-two in the 1000m on Sunday.

Bowe, who was eighth and 14th in the 1000m and 1500m at the Olympics, also took third in the 1500m on Friday.

Hansen, who finished ninth and seventh in the 1000m and 1500m at the Olympics, took third in the 1000m on Saturday and won the 1500m in Inzell on Sunday.

“I’m pretty pumped,” Hansen said, holding a piece of paper with the phrase “Happy birthday mom” written in marker. “A little bit bittersweet knowing it was right after the Olympics. I’d rather have this than nothing at all.”

Four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis, who was eighth in the 1000m and 11th in the 1500m at the Olympics, won the 1000m on Saturday and finished fourth behind Hansen in the 1500m on Sunday.

“There’s a lot of mixed feelings,” Davis told NOS on Saturday. “I’m still really depressed about my past results, but I’m happy that I can still race the 1000m at the highest level.

“It lets me know in my heart that it wasn’t me [in Sochi]. This was Shani that should have been two weeks ago.”

The speed skating World Cup concludes in Heerenveen, Netherlands, next weekend.

Inzell Men’s 500m 2
1. Jan Smeekens (NED) 34.91
2. Nico Ihle (GER) 34.97
3. Michel Mulder (NED) 35.00
10. Tucker Fredricks (USA) 35.21
15. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 35.36

Women’s 1000m
1. Heather Richardson (USA) 1:14.87
2. Brittany Bowe (USA) 1:15.26
3. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) 1:15.34
18. Sugar Todd (USA) 1:18.03

Men’s 1500m
1. Brian Hansen (USA) 1:44.58
2. Denny Morrison (CAN) 1:45.28
3. Koen Verweij (NED) 1:45.68
4. Shani Davis (USA) 1:45.72

Women’s mass start
1. Claudia Pechstein (GER)
2. Janneke Ensing (NED)
3. Irene Schouten (NED)
7. Maria Lamb (USA)

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Shani Davis wins in first race since Olympics, says he’s ‘still really depressed’

Shani Davis
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U.S. speed skaters captured two more wins on the second day of World Cup racing in Inzell, Germany, on Saturday, putting Olympic disappointment behind them.

Shani Davis won in his first race since the Olympics, taking the 1000m in 1 minute, 8.7 seconds.

Davis, the 2006 and 2010 Olympic 1000m champion, had finished eighth in the 1000m in Sochi. Davis has won four of the five World Cup 1000m races this season and clinched the season title in the event.

“There’s a lot of mixed feelings,” Davis told Dutch media outlet NOS. “I’m still really depressed about my past results, but I’m happy that I can still race the 1000m at the highest level.

“It lets me know in my heart that it wasn’t me [in Sochi]. This was Shani that should have been two weeks ago.”

Davis said he’s starting to find his rhythm again but was cryptic about the future.

“There’s a lot of things up in the air I’m not quite sure about, so I can’t really speak on it yet,” Davis said. “Maybe some day in the future we’ll have a talk about it.”

The Netherlands’ Stefan Groothuis was second, one tenth behind Davis, and another American, Brian Hansen, was third. Groothuis won the Olympic 1000m in Sochi.

Heather Richardson won her second 500m in two days, skating 37.70 to win by .14 over Russian Olga Fatkulina. Richardson was eighth in the Olympic 500m.

In other races, Olympic champion Ireen Wuest of the Netherlands won the 3000m and bronze medalist Ronald Mulder won the 500m on Saturday.

Inzell men’s 500m Race 1
1. Ronald Mulder (NED) 34.96
2. Gilmore Junio (CAN) 35.02
3. Nico Ihle (GER) 35.10
8. Tucker Fredricks (USA) 35.27
19. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 1:34.68

Women’s 500m Race 2
1. Heather Richardson (USA) 37.70
2. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) 37.84
3. Jenny Wolf (GER) 37.89
15. Sugar Todd (USA) 38.95
20. Kelly Gunther (USA) 39.87

Men’s 1000m
1. Shani Davis (USA) 1:08.70
2. Stefan Groothuis (NED) 1:08.80
3. Brian Hansen (USA) 1:08.90
11. Joey Mantia (USA) 1:09.91
14. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 1:10.23
17. Jonathan Garcia (USA) 1:10.67

Women’s 3000m
1. Ireen Wuest (NED) 4:01.52
2. Martina Sablikova (CZE) 4:04.00
3. Yvonne Nauta (NED) 4:04.44

Men’s mass start
1. Arjen Stroetinga (NED) 10:11.43
2. Bart Swings (BEL) 10:11.56
3. Bob de Vries (NED) 10:13.59
5. Patrick Meek (USA) 10:11.74
6. Brian Hansen (USA) 10:18.49

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U.S. speed skaters bounce back in first post-Olympic races

Heather RIchardson
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Two American speed skaters made the podium on the first day of the first World Cup event since the U.S. went medal-less at the Sochi Olympics.

Heather Richardson won a 500m, and Brittany Bowe took third in a 1500m in Inzell, Germany, on Friday. They had finished eighth and 14th in those events, respectively, as part of a dismal US Speedskating performance at the Olympics.

Richardson improved to second in the World Cup season 500m standings, while Bowe remained second in the 1500m behind Olympic champion Ireen Wuest of the Netherlands, who also won in Inzell on Friday.

Richardson and Bowe continued their string of season-long strong World Cup results, further confusing what went wrong in Sochi.

The Inzell World Cup continues with more men’s and women’s races Saturday and Sunday.

Inzell Women’s 500m Race 1
1. Heather Richardson (USA) 37.85
2. Judith Hesse (GER) 37.86
3. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) 37.89
8. Brittany Bowe (USA) 38.13
19. Sugar Todd (USA) 39.09
25. Kelly Gunther (USA) 40.21
28. Anna Ringsred (USA) 40.49

Women’s 1500m
1. Ireen Wuest (NED) 1:54.03
2. Lotte van Beek (NED) 1:54.70
3. Brittany Bowe (USA)  1:55.06
11. Heather Richardson (USA) 1:57.16

Men’s 5000m
1. Jorrit Bergsma (NED) 6:14.08
2. Sverre  Lunde Pedersen (NOR) 6:19.48
3. Patrick Beckert (GER) 6:22.71
12. Patrick Meek (USA) 6:32.08

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