Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating -Berlin (GER)
The times of Davis and Wolf were the fastest ever times on a lowland rink where times are usually slower because of the air resistance.
The Speed Skating season started in
Berlin with fast times, and impressive track records by Shani Davis
(USA), Jenny Wolf (GER), Christine Nesbitt (CAN) and Martína Sábliková
(CZE). The times of Davis and Wolf were the fastest ever times on a
lowland rink where times are usually slower because of the air
The first distance for the ladies
was the 3000m. No Dutch or Canadian ladies on the podium, but in third
place was Stephanie Beckert, the young German lady who last year
impressed on the 5000m and now finished a strong 3000m in 4:07.17. She
was only little behind the second place, taken by Masako Hozumi from
Japan, who managed 4:06.25. But the victory clearly went to Martína
Sábliková, who took the track record of Dutch Renate Groenewold
(4:02.44) down to 4:00.75, with most laps below 32, finishing in 32.4.
On Saturday, the lady sprinters
came into action. On the 500m home favourite Jenny Wolf was only
second, in 38.04. With a poor second turn, she had to bow to Beixing
Wang (CHN), who won with 37.85. In third place finished Nao Kodaira,
whose time was 38.19.
Nao Kodaira, Japanese champion on
the three shortest distances, also made the 1000m podium that day. She
beat double Olympic champion Marianne Timmer in a straight duel 1:15.92
to 1:16.13. Both times were good enough for silver and bronze, as there
was only one other skater below 1:16.6: Christine Nesbitt from Canada
won the 1000 with a strong 1:15.41.
On Sunday, Jenny Wolf was
determined to and took an opening of 10.19 (in comparison: the second
fastest opening was by Wang, 10.41) and a 27.3 lap brought her a new
Track record time of 37.52. The old TR was also on her name with 37.75.
The time of Wolf is also the fastest time ever on a lowland rink. After
she crossed the finish line, she shook her head in amazement and
disbelief. Later she commented: “In training I went faster and faster,
so I knew I could do it, but often the lap was not that good. I would
have been happy with a 37.7, so I was truly stunned.” In the next pair,
Beixing Wang and Annette Gerritsen (NED) skated towards silver and
bronze: 37.94 and 38.27. After two 500m races, Wolf and Wang share 180
points, Gerritsen after a 4th and 3rd place is third with 130 points. In the B-division there was an Australian record for Sophie Muir of 40.10.
Finally on the 1500m, the first
surprise came in the fifth pair, where winner of the 3000m Sábliková
proved to have mastered this distance as well, and finished in 1:56.99.
The first to be below 1:58 after her was Brittany Schussler (CAN) in
pair ten. Her time was 1:57.26 which was in the end the third time, as
in the next pair her teammate Christine Nesbitt equaled Anni
Friesinger’s track record and won the distance in 1:55.54.
On the first day, the sprinters
skated the 500 and 1000 meters. The Korean skaters dominated the 500m,
with world champion Kang-Seok Lee setting the fastest time: 34.80.
Kyou-Hyuk Lee finished second with 35.02, which is a pretty large gap
on the shortest distance. Keiichiro Nagashima finished third in 35.13
and Mika Poutala (FIN) finished in his usual 4th place.
On the 1000m, Shani Davis erased
the track record of Dutch Erben Wennemars (1:08.88) and completed the
distance in 1:08.53, opening in 16.98, then a 25.1 and a 26.3 lap. He
was more than half a second faster than Yevgenij Lalenkov (RUS) who was
second in 1:09.11, and almost a second faster than the third-place
finisher Joon Mun (KOR), who took third place with 1:09.43.
The 5000m was on Saturday. Sven
Kramer (NED) had not lost a single 5000m in two years and won this one
as well, thus directly qualifying for Olympic participation according
to Dutch selection rules. His time was 6:14.69. In second place
finished Håvard Bøkko (NOR), his main rival in the past year, with
6:17.17, and third was Bob de Jong, the Dutchman who is Olympic 10,000m
champion, with 6:19.22. There were two national records on this
distance in the B-division; 6:22.38 for Frenchman Alexis Contin and
6:24.88 for Shane Dobbin from New Zealand.
On Sunday’s 500m, Tucker Fredricks (USA), dissatisfied with his 14th
place of the first day, skated a fierce race and finished in 35.05.
This time was not bettered when in the last pair the two Koreans Lee,
who were the best skaters on the first day, raced together. Kang-Seok
opened in 9.59, and also Kyou-Hyuk opened with 9.62 faster than
Fredricks’ 9.67. But the 25.3 lap was out of their reach today and
Kang-Seok Lee’s time was 35.10, Kyou-Hyuk Lee had 35.13 and took third
place. In the ranking, Kang-Seok Lee has 180 points, Kyou-Hyuk Lee 150
and Fredricks 116, one point ahead of Nagashima.
The final distance was the 1500m,
and the win was possibly the most brilliant time of the weekend. First
Denny Morrison (CAN) set 1:45.69, not too far from the 1:45.54 track
record held by Fabris, A few pairs later, Norwegian champion Håvard
Bøkko successfully attacked Morrison’s time with a 28.0 final lap, and
finished in 1:45.56. However impressive these times, Shani Davis was
over a full second faster. The smiling American started 23.59, had laps
of 25.4, 26.9 and 28.4, resulting in 1:44.47. This time was not just an
enormous improvement of the track record, it is the fastest time ever
skated on a low land rink. Morrison: “Shani is amazing. What a time!”
Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating –Berlin (GER) - Medal Winners
Bob de Jong
For details of the Essent ISU World Cup, including complete results see
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