KEARNS, Utah (January 21, 2012) – Team USA had an outstanding opening to the Essent ISU World Cup 4 on home ice today, bringing home four medals out of four events in the 500m and 1000m sprint distances.
Olympic and World Champion Shani Davis (Chicago, IL) won his first gold of the season in today’s 1000m, posting a season-best time of 1:07.20. Canada’s Denny Morrison took second with a time of 1:07.39, and Stefan Groothuis (NED) skated a personal best 1:07.45 for third.
"I had a lot of doubt coming into this competition, but drew a lot of energy from the crowd,” said Davis. “I've never seen so many people out here cheering for speedskating. I just tried my best not only for myself, but for the people out there cheering. It's good to show them today I'm here, I'm skating well and I'm skating fast."
Reigning 1000m World Cup Champion Heather Richardson (High Point, N.C.) skated to a silver in today’s 1000m with a personal-best time of 1:13.99. Christine Nesbitt (CAN) continued her winning streak in the distance posting a season-best 1:13.36 for gold, and Ireen Wust (NED) finished third with a season-best 1:14.51. Brittany Bowe (Ocala, FL) skated a personal-best 1:14.87 for 5th place.
“ Day 1 of World Cup 4 here in Salt Lake City has gone better than expected for me and all of the other Americans. I had two personal bests today and a top-5 finish. It was my first World Cup on home ice and we have a great crowd here. The crowd really lifts us up and gets us to the finish line,” said Bowe.
Richardson skated to a bronze in the 500m with a season-best time of 37.58 seconds. Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR) won gold, posting a season-best 37.36, and Nao Kodaira (JPN) took second with 37.42, a personal-best and national record for Japan. Bowe skated a personal-best 38.30 for 16th place in today’s 500m.
“ I was hoping to get back on the podium, so I’m really happen that happened today,” said Richardson. “This is the first time I’ve won two.”
Tucker Fredricks (Janesville, WI) continued his World Cup podium momentum with a bronze in today’s 500m with a season-best time of 34.45. Keiichiro Nagashima (JPN) won gold posting a personal-best 34.37, and Jan Smeekens (NED) won silver with a personal-best and Dutch national record 34.40.
Extended results from today’s World Cup are available here.
Racing continues tomorrow with the second series of 500m and 1000m races beginning at Noon (MST). Fans can log on and watch World Cup racing live on ISU’s Skating Channel