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Five For Friday: Long Track Speedskating

By Paul D. Bowker | Feb. 12, 2016, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

Brittany Bowe competes at the ISU World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships held at Thialf Ice Arena on Feb. 15, 2015 in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

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Olympic teammates Brittany Bowe and Heather Bergsma, the top- and second-ranked skaters in world cup women’s 1,000-meter, will chase after the top podium spot in that distance Friday at the World Single Distance Championships[CJM1] .

And that’s just the start for a weekend of world championship racing in Kolomna, Russia.

Bowe and Bergsma will also meet in the women’s 500-meter competition Saturday and 1,500-meter Sunday. Bowe is the reigning world champion at 1,000 and 1,500 meters and has won 16 world cup medals this season. Bergsma, a two-time Olympian, is the current world record-holder at 1,500 meters and set a 1,000-meter world record earlier this season.

They’re joined by six other U.S. speedskaters this weekend. Of the eight U.S. skaters, seven are Olympians. Two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis is the reigning world champion in men’s 1,000-meter. He has medaled 15 times in the World Single Distance Championships, winning eight gold medals. He’ll go after a ninth gold Saturday in the men’s 1,000.

Joey Mantia and Mitch Whitmore will also race in the men’s 1,000-meter with Davis. Mantia, a 2014 Olympian, will join Davis in the 1,500-meter and also compete in the mass start with teammate KC Boutiette, a four-time Olympian.

Bergsma is the only U.S. skater entered in four events: women’s 500, 1,000, 1,500 and mass start. She’ll be joined in the mass start by Paige Schwartzburg, who is making her world championships debut. Sugar Todd will join 2014 Olympic teammates Bergsma and Bowe in the women’s 500 and 1,000.

TV: 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET Friday, 5-6 p.m. Saturday, 4-5 p.m. Sunday, Universal HD; midnight, March 2, NBC Sports Network

Webcast: 9:10 a.m. Friday, 7 a.m. Saturday, 6:30 a.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Live Extra and icenetwork.com

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.