CALGARY, Alberta (January 28, 2012) - Olympic and World Champion Shani Davis (Chicago, Ill.) skated to a win in today’s 1000m race on the opening day of the 2012 Essent ISU World Sprint Championships. Davis posted a time of 1:07.25 to finish ahead of Stefan Groothuis (NED) at 1:07.50, and Tae-Bum Mo (KOR) at 1:07.99. Teammate Mitch Whitmore (Waukesha, WI) finished 28th with 1:10.20.
Davis finished 16th in today’s 500m, .83 seconds behind Kyou-Hyuk Lee (KOR) with a winning time of 34.33, and Dimitry Lobkov (RUS) in second with 34.46, and Canada’s Muncef Ouardi taking third with a time of 35.54. Whitmore placed 26th with a time of 35.59.
“The (1000m) race was good, my 500 was ok, but hopefully tomorrow we can have a stronger race so we can be in the money tomorrow,” said Davis. “I was happy with the performance today in the 1000. It’s very difficult to win on an outer (lane), but I was able to win today on an outer so I’m excited for tomorrow’s inner finish.”
Davis sits 6th overall following today’s races, .45 behind current leader Kyou-Hyuk Lee.
“Shani had a solid start to the championships and showed that he’s definitely back with his win in the 1000m today, but he’s going to need a big 500m to keep him the hunt for the overall podium,” said U.S. Sprint Head Coach Ryan Shimabukuro.
“I was pretty nervous and had a false start in the 500 today, but going into tomorrow I’ll try to calm down and stay relaxed, I think I’ll do better that way,” said Whitmore of his World Championship debut.
In today’s ladies 1000m, defending World Sprint Champion Christine Nesbitt (CAN), skated to a new World Record on home ice, 1:12.68, breaking previous record of 1:13.11 set by Canadian teammate Cindy Klassen, also set on the Calgary Oval in 2006.
"This was a better race than my Olympic gold-medal race, so that's really cool," said Nesbitt. "I think it's probably one of my biggest accomplishments to set a world record.”
Dutch skaters Marrit Leenstra and Margot Boer, took second (1:14.16) and third (1:14.37), respectively. Heather Richardson (High Point, N.C.) finished sixth with a time of 1:14.49, and Brittany Bowe (Ocala, FL) placed 14th with 1:15.50.
“I felt good and the ice was fast,” said Richardson. “I was a little disappointed with my time, but there’s always tomorrow.”
“It was a tough way to start the weekend, but I know that both of the ladies will be better tomorrow,” added Shimabukuro. “Heather was very close to the 1000m podium today, but I’m confident that if she executes her race tomorrow like I know she can, she’ll be there for sure.”
Germany’s Jenny Wolf skated a 37.35 to win the 500m, followed by Beixing Wang (CHN) at 37.50, and Hong Zhang posting 37.63. Richardson tied for 10th with Nao Kodaria (38.07), and Bowe finished 19th with a time of 38.67.
“Today didn’t go as well as I expected, but there’s always tomorrow and we have two more races tomorrow. I felt a little bit sluggish today, but I’m going to recover the rest of the day and bounce back and get ready for tomorrow," said Bowe, who is also making her inaugural World Sprint Championship appearance.
In the ladies overall standings, Richardson is eighth, 1.11 behind Nesbit with the lead. Bowe currently sits 17th.
Racing continues in Calgary tomorrow beginning at Noon (MST). Extended race results are available at http://live.isuresults.eu/2011-2012/calgary/