Strong Finishes for Team USA on Final Day of ISU World Cup Heerenveen

Dec. 14, 2014, 4:57 p.m. (ET)

On the final day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating weekend in Heerenveen’s skating arena Thialf, Jan Szymanski (POL) won the 1500m for the second week in a row. The Bergsma home had a good day with a strong solo victory for Jorrit Bergsma (NED) in the mass start and two gold medals for his girlfriend Heather Richardson (USA) on the 500m and the 1500m. Ivanie Blondin (CAN) won the Ladies’ Mass Start and Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) again won the 500m. Seven skaters improved their personal best times.

Richardson wins the second race of the weekend in Ladies’ 1500m The American Ladies’ repeated Saturday’s 1-2 on the 1000m podium in Sunday’s 1500m. Heather Richardson (USA) won the 1500m ahead of Brittany Bowe (USA). Marrit Leenstra (NED) took the bronze.

Bowe was the first of the favorites to race. She opened in 25.20 and continued with a 28.2, a 29.7 and a 31.4 lap to finish in 1:54.70, the 8th time ever skated in Thialf. It didn’t scare Richardson. She opened with a flashing 24.76, followed by laps of 28.2, 29.5 and 31.2, to show her improved stamina. With 1:53.87 she set the third time ever skated in Thialf.

Richardson said: “I’ve been training differently since I live in the Netherlands. All the biking that I did in Livigno, climbing the mountains. It was nothing for me as a sprinter, but it made me mentally strong, and I think it pays off now. And I am most happy about my opener. Following the guys worked out well for my speed too.”

Jan Szymanski (POL) takes rare back-to-back win in 1500m Jan Szymanski grabbed 1500m gold to become the first skater to record back-to-back victories in this event since Shani Davis (USA) won two in a row in February-March 2012. Davis himself grabbed his first World Cup medal of this season with bronze and Wouter Olde Heuvel (NED) took silver.

When Davis and Olde Heuvel entered the rink in the eighth pair, Bart Swings (BEL) had the fastest time with 1:46.55. He defeated Sven Kramer (NED) in the sixth pair. Davis opened in 23.8 and stayed ahead of Olde Heuvel with lap times of 26.0 and 27.6. He couldn’t keep the pace however and Olde Heuvel, who set 24.10, 26.5 and 27.2, caught Davis in the final lap with 28.2 versus 28.8. Their times were 1:46.22 and 1:46.33.

Davis was happy with his first World Cup medal of the season. “I never doubted that my level is still very high. I believe in my talent”, he said.

Richardson faster than Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR)  Not Sang-Hwa Lee but Heather Richardson won the second 500m. Lee ended up third behind Brittany Bowe.

In pair 9 out of 11, Bowe had set the fastest time with 38.05, leaving Margot Boer (NED, World Cup rank 3) behind. In pair 10, Judith Hesse (GER) and Richardson both opened in 10.5, which was pretty fast for Richardson. The American, who moved to the Netherlands last summer, did well again on her new home ice, finishing in 37.72.

Bowe was surprised by her performance in Heerenveen: “I seem to be on the bubble. I was getting good at fourth places, never being on the podium in Thialf before, but am improving my opener and this weekend I made three podium places.” 

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  • Heather Richardson (High Point, NC) and Brittany Bowe (Ocala, FL) celebrated yet another 1-2-finish in both the 500 and 1500m races.
  • Sugar Todd (Milwaukee, WI) placed 6th overall in the 500m B final, while Jaclyn Rowe (Wheaton, IL) placed 19th in the B division of the 1500m.
  • On the men’s side, Shani Davis (Chicago, IL) skated the 1500m in 1.46,33 which earned him a bronze medal. 
  • Joey Mantia (Ocala, FL) finished first in the 1500m B Division, with a time of 1.47,95. Behind him were Jeffrey Swider-Peltz (Chicago, IL) in 15th and Edwin Park (Seattle, WA), who skated a season best at 1.52,06.
  • In the Men’s 500m B final, Mitch Whitmore (Waukesha, WI) finished in 3rd, followed by Kimani Griffin (Winston-Salem, NC) in 21st.

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