BERLIN, Germany (March 9, 2011) - Team USA’s long track team opened the Essent ISU World Cup Final today in Berlin, Germany. Overall World Cup titles are on the line this weekend, as double World Cup points are awarded for races in each distance.
Defending five-time 1500m World Cup Champion Shani Davis (Chicago,Ill.) had the top finish for Team USA today, a 6th in the 1500m with a time of 1:47.85, just .36 seconds back from distance winner, and 2012 1500m World Cup Champion, Norway’s Havard Bokko (1:47.49). Davis finished 3rd in overall World Cup standings in the distance. Kjeld Nuis (NED) took 2nd in today’s race with at time of 1:47.69 and finished 2nd in overall standings. Koen Verweij (NED) placed 3rd (1:47.727).
"Obviously, Shani’s disappointed in the result today despite giving everything he had in trying to retain and defend his 1500m overall title. And although he was able to hold on for the overall bronze in the 1500m, he's already looking forward to Sunday's 1000m," said U.S. Sprint Team Head Coach Ryan Shimabukuro.
Brian Hansen (Glenview, Ill.) skated a 1:48.32 for 7th in the the 1500m, followed by Jonathan Kuck (Champaign, Ill) posting 1:48.36 to finish 8th. Hansen ends the season 8th overall, and Kuck finishes the distance at 16th.
"Brian overcame a slow start to his race with a strong last lap, which resulted in a solid overall placing for him today," said U.S. Coach Kip Carpenter. "Jonathan’s race today brought out his best technical skating of the season, and we've been able to make some last minute adjustments so we're hoping to build off of todays result," he added.
Today marked the first of two 500m races this weekend. Current World Cup leader Tucker Fredricks (Janesville, WI) finished 14th in today’s race (35.43). "Tucker still has the overall lead going into tomorrow, but because it's bonus points for the Top 5, he'll need a bounce back performance like last weekend to hold for the title. He's proven time and time again that he's certainly capable of doing just that so it will be an exciting event tomorrow."
Heather Richardson (High Point, N.C.) finished 10th in today’s 500m with a time of 38.72, and Brittany Bowe (Ocala, FL) posted a 39.42 for 21st place.
"It was a tough way to start the weekend,” added Shimabukuro. “Small mistakes resulted in slower times then anticipated but I know they all will be better tomorrow."
Jilleanne Rookard (Woodhaven, MI) finished 13th in today’s 3000m with a time of 4:13.56, ending the season with a 16th place Overall. "Jill's effort today showed that she's still focused on finishing the season strong and preparing for the team pursuit at the World Single Distance Championships in two weeks."
Racing continues in Berlin tomorrow with the second ladies and men’s 500m, the ladies 1500m and men’s 5000m. Extended results from today’s races in Berlin are available here: http://live.isuresults.eu/2011-2012/berlin/