Two-time Olympian Heather Bergsma earned her first world cup gold medal of the season on Saturday, winning the women’s 1,000-meter in Calgary, Alberta.
The reigning 1,000 world champion’s first victory of the Olympic season came in a time of 1:13.37. Russia’s Yekaterina Shikhova finished .33 seconds behind Bergsma, while Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands finished third in a time of 1:13.72. Bergsma’s time was her best in the 1,000 since she set a world record of 1:12.51 in 2015.
“It feels good to back on top of the podium,” Bergsma told US Speedskating. “I don’t feel like my skating is the best it can be, and it wasn’t a perfect race, but I’m happy to continue making steps in each race.”
Bergsma won her first medal of the season with a third-place finish in the 1,000 on Nov. 17 with a time of 1:15.04, followed by a silver medal the following day in the 1,500 during the world cup in Stavanger, Norway.
The 28-year-old from High Point, North Carolina, won golds in the 1,000 and 1,500 last season at the world championships, as well as silver at the sprint world championships and bronze in the mass start, setting her up for high expectations come February’s Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
She is also the reigning world cup grand champion and won a total of 12 world cup medals last season, including nine golds. Prior to this season, she had earned 34 world cup medals, including 20 golds, in the 1,000.
Competition in Calgary ends Sunday with the women’s 500-meter and 1,500-meter, men’s 1,500, and mass start for both men and women.
The world cup season continues next weekend in Salt Lake City, then has one last stop in Erfurt, Germany from Jan. 19-21 before the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The world cup final is in March.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.