Heather Bergsma continued to scorch the ice, Joey Mantia and Shani Davis showed they are back on track, and 46-year-old veteran KC Boutiette made skating history on Sunday, the closing day of the long track speedskating world cup in Nagano, Japan.
Bergsma picked up her second individual gold in as many days and her fourth of the two-meet world cup season with her win in the 1,500-meter. Her time of 1:55.29 gave her the victory over a pair of Dutch skaters: Ireen Wüst, who posted a 1:55.50 to take the silver, and Marrit Leenstra, whose 1:55.94 took bronze. Bergsma is now undefeated in the 1,000- and 1,500-meter this season after winning both a week earlier in Harbin, China. Both performances at 1,500 meters set track records.
On a busy day of competition for Bergsma, the two-time Olympian also earned world cup points in the mass start with a sixth-place finish and placed 10th in the women’s 500-meter.
2014 Olympian Joey Mantia gave the U.S. the sweep of the 1,500-meter gold medals, winning with a time of 1:45.43, 0.20 faster than Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands. Four-time Olympian Shani Davis, twice an Olympic silver medalist in the event, crossed the line in 1:46.43 to edge Belgian Bart Swings by 0.16 seconds for the final podium spot. With the win, Mantia moves to the top of the world cup standings in the event with 150 points, holding a slight five-point advantage on Sven Kramer of the Netherlands. The bronze medal, Davis’ first world cup medal in a year, pushed him into fifth in the standings with 106 points.
Credited as the athlete who began the crossover revolution from inline to long track speedskating, Boutiette, a four-time Olympian, became the oldest skater to mount a world cup podium with his silver medal in the men’s mass start, an event that will make its Olympic debut in PyeongChang in less than 15 months. His time of 7:41.68 was 3.96 seconds off the pace set by Heather Bergsma’s husband, Jorrit, of the Netherlands. Swings contended for silver but fell 0.04 seconds short of Boutiette. Mantia finished fourth.
The previous oldest skater to earn a world cup medal was Germany’s Claudia Pechstein at 42 years and 294 days.
Having come out of retirement in 2015 with an eye on the mass start, Boutiette’s silver in the mass start marked his first world cup medal since taking bronze in the 10,000-meter on Feb. 28, 2004.