Heather Bergsma picked up her fourth 1,000-meter gold medal of the season Friday in world cup racing in Berlin, strengthening an already tight grip on the season title with one stop remaining.
Bergsma posted a time of 1:15.42 to defeat Japan’s Nao Kodaira by 0.07 seconds, while Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands claimed the bronze in 1:15.62. Both of Bergsma’s closest competition in the overall standings, Dutch skater Marrit Leenstra and Miho Takagi of Japan, missed the podium, allowing Bergsma to pad her lead in the 1,000-meter standings. Leenstra was fourth Friday, which, combined with Takagi’s eighth place finish, locked the two in a tie for second with 326 points apiece, 74 points behind Bergsma, who is assured a top-three finish heading to the world cup final March 11-12 in Stavanger, Norway.
Friday’s win marked her 30th world cup gold medal.
A two-time Olympian who has won six of the seven races she has entered this season, Bergsma also holds the lead in the overall world cup standings with 680 points, 50 ahead of Takagi and 160 up on Leenstra. She will pursue her third gold medal at 1,500 meters Saturday after her only loss of the season, a silver medal Dec. 12, 2016, in Heerenveen, Netherlands. With seven world cup medals this season, Bergsma pushed her career total to 78.
The Berlin meet is the final tune-up before a critical series of February races, including the Feb. 9-12 World Single Distances Championships, which serves as the Olympic test event at the Gangneung Oval in South Korea, and the Feb. 25-26 World Sprint Championships in Calgary, Alberta.