One week after Brittany Bowe became the first U.S. woman to hold the 1,500-meter long track speedskating world record, teammate and friend Heather (Richardson) Bergsma bested Bowe’s record by 0.74 seconds.
Bergsma won the 1,500-meter at the ISU World Cup Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City in a time of 1:50.85. Also skating in the final heat, Bowe took silver in 1:51.31, which also bested her world record of 1:51.59. Martina Sablikova of Czech Republic earned bronze in 1:53.44.
“I was hoping [to get that second world record] but I tried not to focus on it too much, especially after the 500-meter earlier,” Bergsma said. “My speed wasn’t quite there but I just tried to relax in between races and hoped for the best.”
Bergsma’s skate was the fourth world-record-setting performance by the two Americans in the first two world cups of the season. In last weekend’s season opener in Calgary, Alberta, Bergsma bested Bowe’s 1,000-meter world record just minutes after Bowe broke her own world record from 2013.
This is the first time U.S. women set long track world records on consecutive weekends.
“I think we (Brittany Bowe) feed off each other,” Bergsma said. “I know last weekend I fueled her fire after taking the record in the 1,000-meter, then she went and did the 1,500-meter, so I’m sure tomorrow she’s going to bring her A game.”
In addition to Bergsma and Bowe’s gold and silver medals in the 1,500, Bowe took home bronze in the second 500-meter of the weekend. China’s Hong Zhang and Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee were first and second. Bergsma was fourth and Sugar Todd ninth.
In the men’s 1,000-meter final, Shani Davis just missed the podium, skating a season-best 1:07.37 for fourth place. Joey Mantia’s personal best of 1:07.47 was good for seventh.
Team USA owns eight medals through the first two days of competition, which wraps on Sunday with the women’s 1,000-meter, second women’s 500-meter, and mass start and team sprint races for both men and women.