Jilleanne Rookard

Shani Davis

Shani Davis, Heather Richardson sweep again at U.S. Olympic Trials (video)

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Shani Davis will get a chance to defend Olympic medals in two distances in Sochi. Heather Richardson has a shot at the podium in three individual races.

Davis won his second event at the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials, while Richardson took her third in the 1500m at the Utah Olympic Oval on Tuesday. They both won the 1000m on Sunday. Richardson also won the 500m on Saturday.

The U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials conclude with the women’s 5000m and men’s 10,000m on New Year’s Day at 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, 5 p.m.). The U.S. has one Olympic quota spot in each of those events.

Davis, the two-time reigning Olympic 1500m silver medalist, clocked 1 minute, 43.20 seconds and led three other men who had already qualified in other distances. Brian Hansen was second, a half-second behind, followed by Joey Mantia and Jonathan Kuck.

Davis’ shot at gold in the 1500m in Sochi is not quite as high as in the 1000m. Four World Cup 1500m races this season were won by four different men, including Davis and Mantia. Six different men won the six World Cup races last season. Hansen made four podiums over the last two seasons.

“Any medal at this level would mean a lot to me, preferably gold,” Davis said on NBCSN. “I go out there, I do the best I can. Hopefully, I’m the best man that given day.”

In the women’s race, Richardson prevailed in 1:54.19, a mild upset by .77 over Brittany Bowe.

“My legs are kind of tired,” Richardson said on NBCSN after her third event in four days, “so I really had to work.”

Bowe, reportedly sick after finishing Tuesday, also finished second to Richardson in the 500m and 1000m at trials.

Both will go to the Olympics in the 1500m, as will third-place Jilleanne Rookard, who also won the 3000m on Friday.

Richardson was the top U.S. finisher in the 2010 Olympic 1500m, taking 16th. Rookard was 24th. Richardson is better in the 500m and 1000m, while Rookard is better in the 3000m and 5000m.

Bowe has won two World Cup medals in four 1500m races this season, including a victory in Astana, Kazakhstan. Richardson and Bowe will battle Dutch skaters for 1500m medals in Sochi.

Here are the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials results so far:

Men’s 500m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Mitchell Whitmore
2. Tucker Fredricks
3. Brian Hansen
4. Shani Davis

Men’s 1000m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Shani Davis
2. Brian Hansen
3. Joey Mantia
4. Jonathan Garcia

Men’s 1500m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Shani Davis
2. Brian Hansen
3. Joey Mantia
4. Jonathan Kuck

Men’s 5000m (three Olympic quota spots)
1. Jonathan Kuck
2. Emery Lehman
3. Patrick Meek

Women’s 500m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Heather Richardson
2. Brittany Bowe
3. Sugar Todd
4. Lauren Cholewinski

Women’s 1000m (four Olympic quota spots)
1. Heather Richardson
2. Brittany Bowe
3. Sugar Todd
4. Kelly Gunther

Women’s 1500m (three Olympic quota spots)
1. Heather Richardson
2. Brittany Bowe
3. Jilleanne Rookard

Women’s 3000m (two Olympic quota spots)
1. Jilleanne Rookard
2. Anna Ringsred

WADA could introduce hair tests for doping

Jilleanne Rookard, Jonathan Kuck win at U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials

Jilleanne Rookard
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Jilleanne Rookard and Jonathan Kuck are going back to the Olympics.

The 2010 Olympians won the opening races at the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials in Kearns, Utah, on Friday night, clinching spots on the 2014 Olympic Team that will officially be named next week.

Rookard, 30, claimed the 3000m in 4 minutes, 9.66 seconds. She beat second-place Anna Ringsred by more than four seconds. Ringsred is also likely going to Sochi.

The U.S. qualified two entries in the Olympic 3000m, an event it hasn’t won an Olympic medal in since Beth Heiden‘s bronze in 1980.

Kuck, 23, won the men’s 5000m in 6:19.76, as expected. Emery Lehman and Patrick Meek, who were second and third, are also likely going to Sochi as the U.S. has three entries into the Olympic 5000m.

The U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials continue with the men’s and women’s 500m from the 2002 Olympic oval Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET. NBC will broadcast the competition at 3 p.m.

U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials Preview, Schedule

Rookard finished 12th in the 2010 Olympic 3000m and is a contender to make the U.S. Olympic Team in the 1500m and the 5000m again, too. The former inline skater and weightlifter competed in Vancouver two months after her mother died of cancer.

“I’m going to pop champagne and celebrate with my teammate,” Rookard said, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee. “I’m really excited.”

Ringsred, 29, will join Rookard on the Olympic team as long as no more than 10 different women’s skaters qualify over the total of five distances at trials. It will help if stars Brittany Bowe and Heather Richardson qualify in multiple distances to keep the overall team size down.

Ringsred would be a first-time Olympian. The University of Calgary chemical engineering graduate briefly retired after failing to make the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team.

“Last Olympic Trials, I really did have too many nerves, and it really ruined my race; I didn’t perform well at all,” Ringsred said on NBCSN. “I went into this realizing that speed skating, for the first time in my life, amidst all the turmoil and the pressure, it makes me really feel alive.”

Among the women who missed out on the top two were 2010 Olympians Maria Lamb (fifth) and Nancy Swider-Peltz Jr. (ninth) and three-time Olympic short track speed skater Allison Baver (14th). They’ll try to qualify in other distances.

Kuck won an Olympic silver medal in the team pursuit in Vancouver and placed eighth in the 10,000m, his lone individual event in 2010. One month later, Kuck took silver in the World Allround Championships behind Dutch superstar Sven Kramer.

Kuck also won bronze in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2012 World Single Distance Championships, though it will be hard for him to get past the Netherlands’ powerful trio in Sochi. Kuck is expected to win the 10,000m at the Olympic Trials on the final day of skating Wednesday.

“It’s nice to have it out of the way,” Kuck said on NBCSN. “A couple more races coming up [at trials], but there isn’t any question mark [about making the U.S. Olympic Team].”

Lehman and Meek are going to Sochi so long as 10 or fewer male skaters qualify over the five Olympic distances.

Lehman, an Oak Park (Ill.)-River Forest High School student, is likely to be the youngest male athlete among the entire U.S. Olympic delegation in Sochi. He’s 17 and the reigning world junior champion in the 5000m.

Meek, like Lehman, would be a first-time Olympian.

Comeback story at U.S. Olympic Trials