Heather Richardson-Bergsma produced a world record performance to claim the women’s 1,000 metres gold on the second day of competition at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup in Calgary, Canada.
American sprinters had dominated the distance during the 2014-2015 season and Richardson-Bergsma aimed to use the fast ice at the Calgary Olympic Oval to claim an early win over her compatriot Brittany Bowe in their head-to-head battle.
Bowe, though, competing one heat ahead of Richardson-Bergsma, produced a blistering performance to lower her existing world record to 1min 12.54sec which looked enough for the reigning world champion to claim gold.
Richardson-Bergsma responded in superb style, though, shaving a further 0.03 seconds off the world record to force Bowe to settle for her second silver medal of the weekend, having been beaten by South Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee in the 500m event yesterday.
Hong Zhang, bronze medallist in the 500m, earned another podium finish with a Chinese record of 1:12.65.
The Netherlands’ Gerben Jorritsma, making his World Cup debut, set the early standard in the men’s 1,000m event clocking 1:07.20 in only the fifth pairing to take to the ice, but with Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov having set the third fastest time in history over the 500m on the opening day of the event his time was expected to come under threat.
Kulizhnikov appeared on course to claim the title, setting off at world record pace but tired in the later stages to finish in 1:07.33 to claim silver in a national record, while Dutch skater Kjeld Nuis completed the podium in 1:07.40.
Further success for The Netherlands’ came in the men’s team sprint as their trio of Ronald Mulder, Kai Verbij and Stefan Groothuis set a time of 1:18.79 to take gold in an event, which making its official debut at the World Cup.
The United States secured silver in 1:19.39, while Russia’s time of 1:19.59 proved enough to earn a podium finish.
Japan’s trio of Erina Kanmiya, Maki Tsuji and Nao Kodaira won the inaugural women’s team sprint title in 1:26.82, with China and hosts Canada completing the podium in times of 1:27.08 and 1:28.39 respectively.
Home fans though were able to celebrate gold in the men’s team pursuit competition as Ted-Jan Bloemen, Jordan Belchos and Ben Donnelly finished in 3:39.32 to end narrowly clear of the South Korean team who earned silver with a time of 3:39.60.
Olympic champions The Netherlands missed out on a medal due to a crash for Arjen Stroetinga, with Italy taking full advantage of Dutch misfortune by claiming bronze in 3:41.97.
The Dutch were not to be denied in the women’s event as Marrit Leenstra, Antoinette de Jong and Marije Joling produced a time of 2:56.11 to beat Japan and Russia to gold, with their rivals clocking 2:56.46 and 2:56.98 respectively.
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