Heather Bergsma won the women’s 1,000-meter Saturday in Stavanger, Norway, at the final world cup of the 2016-17 season, securing the season title at the distance.
She was perfect on the world cup circuit at that distance this season, winning all six races she entered.
Bergsma finished in 1:14.85, edging Japan’s Nao Kodaira by 0.05 seconds to claim 150 world cup points and push her season total to 650, finishing 174 points ahead of Miho Takagi of Japan. Takagi was the only other skater to win a 1,000-meter this season, taking gold in Astana, Kazakhstan, a meet that Bergsma did not attend.
Earlier in the day the two-time Olympian claimed the bronze medal in the 500-meter, crossing the line in 38.13 seconds, for her second medal at that distance this season. She was 0.99 behind Kodaira, who locked up the season crown at that distance. Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic took silver with a 37.87.
Bergsma earns her fourth 1,000-meter season title and the sixth won by an American in the past seven years. She had previously won titles in 2011, 2013 and 2014 and teammate Brittany Bowe had claimed the title the past two years, but Bowe was sidelined throughout the season recovering from the effects of a concussion suffered in training last July.
The gold is Bergsma’s 20th career victory in the 1,000-meter and is her 35th podium at the distance. Earlier this season she won world titles in the 1,000- and 1,500-meter, becoming the first woman to record a career world championship trifecta with golds in the three shortest distances.
Bergsma now has 1,137 points to lead in the overall standings and a virtual lock on her third Grand World Cup title in the past four years. She has an outside chance of taking the 1,500-meter season crown as well, which would make her the first to win both the 1,000 and 1,500 in the same season since Canada’s Christine Nesbitt in 2011-12.
Bergsma enters Sunday’s 1,500-meter final with 330 points, 40 behind Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands. Leenstra’s teammate, Ireen Wüst, is second in the standings with 350 points, but is not competing in Stavanger. Bergsma would have to win and Leenstra finish third or lower for the American to take the title. They will skate together in the final pairing. Bergsma holds the world record in the event, 1:50.85 skated Nov. 15, 2015, at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City.