HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (March 2, 2012) - Team USA had a strong opening to the Essent ISU World Cup #6 in Heerenveen today with two trips to the podium.
Olympic and World Champion Shani Davis (Chicago, Ill.) won gold in today’s 1500m posting a time of 1:46.89. Today’s victory was Davis’ second-straight win at the distance and his 15th career victory in the 1500m. Davis is the current World Cup leader in the 1500m distance.
"It was good skating and hard fighting. I'm happy to shed light on the situation from earlier this season. I'm making progress so I'm happy about the race but more excited for the World Single Distances Championships soon to come," said Davis.
"Shani showed composure through the whole race and dug very deep in challenging ice conditions to win gold today,” added US Speedskating Sprint Head Coach Ryan Shimabukuro. “With three weeks to go before the World Single Distance Championships, he still has work to do, but his performance today shows he's back on track."
Kjeld Nuis (NED) took second in the 1500m with a time of 1:46.98, and Havard Bokko (NOR) was third with 1:47.21. Brian Hansen (Glenview, Ill.) was just .02 seconds off the podium finishing fourth with a time of 1:47.23.
"I'm really excited to be only .02 off the podium,” said Hansen. “I'm also happy to have finished 4th overall which was my highest world cup finish yet."
"Brian was very strong in the second half of his race today, and his competitive nature really showed through. I'm really excited to see him race the 1000m on Sunday,” added Shimabukuro.
Jonathan Kuck (Champaign, Ill.) finished 13th in today’s 1500m with a time of 1:48.08.
Heather Richardson (High Point, N.C.) won bronze in today’s 500m distance posting 38.51, .48 seconds back from today’s winner Jing Yu (China) at 38.03. Margot Boer (NED) took second with a time of 38.30.
"I had a rocky first turn but was able to find my skating and finish strong, and I was happy with the result," said Richardson.
"To be honest, her bronze was a little of a surprise today since we really hadn't done a whole lot of top speed training coming into this competition,” explained Shimabukuro. “We had been preparing for the 1000m and the plan was to use the 500m races as top speed training. She skated very solid and it was a great way for her to start off the weekend."
Brittany Bowe (Ocala, FL) skated a 39.00 to finish 13th in today’s 500m. "Brittany had her fastest 500m in Thialf, this season, and bounced back from a bad slip on the backstretch to finish strong," said Shimabukuro.
Current 500m men’s World Cup leader Tucker Fredricks (Janesville, WI) skated a 35.71 to finish 19th today. "This was his first real, specific race since the World Cup in Salt Lake City back in January where he suffered a lower-back injury. So I really didn't know what to expect, especially on the 100m opener,” said Shimabukuro. “I know he's not satisfied with the result and placing today, but it's a good sign that his back didn't hurt during or after his race. With some fine tuning from race to race, I'm confident that he'll be ready for the World Cup Finals next weekend and the World Single Distances.”
Racing continues tomorrow in Heerenveen with the second ladies and men’s 500m, the ladies 1500m and the men’s 10000m. Races will be webcast live at 6am (MST) at http://livemanager.eurovision.edgesuite.net/isu/site/index.html. Extended results from today’s races are available at http://live.isuresults.eu/2011-2012/heerenveen-2/