CALGARY, Alberta (January 27, 2012) - Team USA will join with 19 other countries and 65 athletes to compete in the 2012 Essent ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships tomorrow at the Calgary Olympic Oval. The Sprint World Championship event will feature two days of competition in the men’s and ladies 500, and 1000m distances.
Coming off a stellar six-medal World Cup performance last week in Salt Lake City, the U.S. squad looks to continue their winning momentum this weekend.
"Most of the skaters have recovered well from last weekend's races and are ready to take on the world here in Calgary,” said U.S. Long Track Sprint Head Coach Ryan Shimabukuro. “The ice conditions feel good, so I think you can expect some fast times and a very competitive field in these World Sprints Championships. It will certainly be a battle all weekend."
Current 1000m World Record holder Shani Davis (Chicago,Ill.) leads the team into the weekend following double golds in the 1000m distance at last weekend’s World Cup. Davis sits second in the overall World Cup rankings for the 1000m distance.
Reigning 1000m World Cup champion Heather Richardson (High Point, N.C.) had a double podium weekend at last week’s World Cup, taking silver in the 1000m and bronze in the 500m. Richardson finished very close to the podium in last year’s World Sprints, taking 4th on three of four races. Richardson is currently ranked fourth in the overall World Cup rankings for the 1000m distance.
Late today, Tucker Fredricks (Janesville,WI) announced his withdrawal from this weekend’s competition due to a lower back injury following his double podium performance at last weekend's World Cup. Fredricks tops the overall rankings for the men’s 500m distance.
“I'm sad about having to scratch this weekend, but I need to rest it (lower back) now so I can get ready for the final portion of the season," explained Fredricks.
"It's really unfortunate that Tucker had to withdraw from the World Sprints with a lower back injury, especially after last weekend's results,” said U.S. Long Track Sprint Team Head Coach Ryan Shimabukuro. “ But since last Saturday evening, it's been getting tighter and more painful. After exhausting all possible treatment methods this week in Calgary, we felt it was the right decision in order to let his back heal up as fast as possible so we could start our final training block when we return to Salt Lake City in preparation for the final World Cups of the season and the World Single Distances Championships in March.”
U.S. sprinters Brittany Bowe (Ocala, FL) and 2010 Olympian Mitch Whitmore (Waukesha, WI) will be making their Sprint World Championship debut this weekend.
Fans can watch the races live, beginning at Noon (MST) daily on the ISU’s Speedskating Channel (http://livemanager.eurovision.edgesuite.net/isu/site/index.html). Results will also be posted at http://www.isuresults.eu/.
2012 Essent ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships
Team USA Roster
Brittany Bowe (Ocala, FL)
Shani Davis (Chicago, IL)
Tucker Fredricks (Janesville, WI) *
Heather Richardson (High Point, N.C.)
Mitch Whitmore (Waukesha, WI)
Coach: Ryan Shimabukuro
* withdrawn from competition 1/26/12 due to injury.