- Calgary, Canada
On the second day of the Essent ISU World Cup in Calgary Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR) skated a world record in the Ladies' 500m of 36.74 and the Dutch men also set a world-record time of 3:37.17 in the Team Pursuit.
In today's A-division there were 19 personal best times including NRs for the Czech Republic (Martina Sábliková, 1:54.44), Kazakhstan (Denis Kuzin, 1:07.71), of course Korea (Sang-Hwa Lee, 36.74), Norway (Ida Njåtun, 1:55.17), Russia (Olga Fatkulina, 37.52; Yekaterina Lobysheva, 1:54.66).
Yesterday saw 21 personal best times in the A-division and later 62 in the B-division. NRs in the B-division were for Austria (Vanessa Bittner, 38.64; Bram Smallenbroek, 1:45.99), Belgium (Jelena Peeters, 4:07.34), Estonia (Saskia Alusalu, 4:20.12), Finland (Elina Risku, 39.24), Hungary (Ígota Tóth-Lykovcán, 39.28; Konrád Nagy, 1:46.70), Italy (Francesca Lollobrigida, 4:07.47), Kazakhstan (Denis Kuzin, 1:44.44), Poland (Luiza Zlotkowska, 4:03.68), Romania (Marius Paraschivoiu, 35.63), Switzerland (Kaitlyn McGregor, 39.62), Chinese Taipei (Ching-Yang Sung, 35.05; Darren Huang, 1:48.86). The winning time in the Men's 500m B-division was exactly the same as the time of the best two skaters of the A-division, with both Tucker Fredricks (USA) and Keiichiro Nagashima (JPN) skating 34.41 to prove they belong in the A-division.
The Ladies started with their second 500m race. The three skaters on the podium on Friday stood there again today. Beixing Wang (CHN) recorded a time of 37.30, Jenny Wolf (GER) 37.18 and Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR) who on Friday skated the second-fastest 500m ever by a woman, did even better today. She opened in 10.21, 0.1 faster than the first race, and followed that with a 26.5 lap, also 0.1 better than the first race. This resulted in an incredible new world record time of 36.74.
The Men's 1000m was delayed slightly after the Canadian skater William Dutton, racing in the second pair, fell and cut his upper right leg with the blade of his left skate. First aid was given on the ice but fortunately the injury was not as severe as it initially appeared and the races continued with Brian Hansen (USA) in the following pair. Despite the delay he managed a personal best time of 1:07.64. Yesterday he had won the B-division 1500m in the third-best time of the day. World champion Denis Kuzin (KAZ) came close with 1:07.71, a national record, which was enough for fourth place. Koen Verweij (NED) was fifth in the same time. The final pair brought the winner. World record holder Shani Davis (USA) skated against Kjeld Nuis (NED), who yesterday won bronze in the 1000m. Nuis opened faster than Davis, the American hauled him back on the first lap and, with a good last turn and a 25.7 last lap, overtook him to win in 1:07.46. Nuis's 1:07.56 was a personal best time that brought him silver. Hansen took the bronze. The victorious Davis said: I am more focused and really happy with where I stand right now. Last year I was injured but that has brought me mental strength and humility. I do what I have to do and am taking out what I don't need to do.
The Ladies' 1500m races have only had three winners since Kristina Groves in 2010: Christine Nesbitt (CAN), Ireen Wüst (NED) and Marrit Leenstra (NED). Today changed that. When these favorites started, in the last two pairs, Martina Sábliková (CZE), who took second in yesterday's 3000m, was leading with 1:54.44, a Czech record time. Nesbitt was paired with Lotte van Beek (NED), who had never gone faster than 1:56.11 but was not intimidated by Nesbitt's reputation. Nesbitt had the fastest opening of the day, 25.19, but followed it with a 28.2, while Van Beek's 27.6 took her into the lead. This seemed to make Nesbitt nervous. Her lap times went up to 29.8 and 31.9, whereas Van Beek posted times of 28.9 and 30.8 to take the lead in a huge personal best of 1:52.95. Nesbitt finished in 1:55.18, which was only good enough for 7th place. Wüst and Leenstra were the final pair. Leenstra opened faster than Wüst, although not as fast as Van Beek, but Wüst continued the stronger after a 27.9 first lap, with 28.8 and 30.8. Wüst took second place with 1:53.30 and Leenstra finished with 1:54.59 in fourth. Thus Lotte van Beek got her first World Cup victory: Last year I finished twice in second place, but Wüst was so much faster then. That triggered me. I am really happy with this time. I am especially happy with my first full lap. It was tough but I could keep skating well until the end.
Men's Team Pursuit
Teams from 14 countries contested the men's Team Pursuit. Team USA with Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck and Trevor Marsicano skated well and almost set a world record with 3:38.66. This time set the pace until the final pair, when the Dutch (Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Koen Verweij) and Korean (Seung-Hoon Lee, Hyung-Joon Joo and Cheol-Min Kim) teams raced against each other. The Koreans matched the tempo of the Dutch in the first half of the race. Then the Dutch, who started carefully and after five laps were 1.44 behind the US times, managed to seize the initiative. In the last two laps they secured the win as well as an improvement to their own world record, which now stands at 3:37.17. The Korean team finished in third position with 3:40.53. Kramer said: We had not expected that we would have to skate that fast to win and planned on a world record rather next week.
Tomorrow's program has the second 500m and the 5000m for Men, and for Ladies the 1000m and Team Pursuit.
For full results please click here