- Berlin, Germany
The Essent ISU World Cup in Berlin continued today, and like yesterday, Jorien ter Mors (NED) impressed in the B-division, improving the track record (that had been Anni Friesinger’s since 2006) by 0.66 to 1:54.88. Ter Mors’s time was the only personal best time of the day. A curious fact: for the first time in history the medals presented were made of chocolate.
Still feeling the effects of yesterday’s fall, home favourite Jenny Wolf had to race in the first pair and clocked 38.23. Her time led the field for a long time. Thijsje Oenema (NED) in pair eight was the first to get close to it with her 38.26. In pair nine Heather Richardson (USA) took over the lead with 38.00. With Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR) deciding to sit this race out, the last pair featured Olga Fatkulina (RUS) and Beixing Wang (CHN). They fought a close duel that Fatkulina ultimately won in 37.92; Wang took silver with 37.96. Wolf’s fourth place also dropped her to fourth in the World Cup rankings, which are still led by Lee on 700 points, followed by Fatkulina on 510, then Richardson on 490 and Wolf on 473.
In the B-division 1000m for Men the winning time was the 1:09.88 of Thomas Krol (NED), and few of the skaters in the A-division successfully attacked that time. Yesterday’s 1500m winner Joey Mantia (USA) was the first below 1:10 with 1:09.98. In pair seven both skaters were faster, but it was only Tae-Bum Mo (KOR) who outpaced Krol, taking the lead with 1:09.50; Havard Lorentzen (NOR) reached 1:09.94. The young Norwegian (Junior world champion at the distance in 2012) was eventually fourth, as in the last pair Michel Mulder (NED) beat Shani Davis (USA) with 1:09.52 against the American’s 1:09.59. It meant the first defeat for Davis in this year’s 1000m and the first international win in a 1000m by Mo, the silver medallist of the last World Championships. No Kjeld Nuis (NED) this weekend, thus Mulder with 232 points moved up to second in the ranking behind Davis with 370, and third is Denis Kuzin (RUS) with 191.
In the B-division Jorien ter Mors (NED) improved the track record to 1:54.88. The former track record, set by Anni Friesinger in 2006 and equalled by Christine Nesbitt in 2009, was 0.66 slower. The second-best time in the B-division was 1.57.93, indicating the new record was not due to better conditions. The A-division produced no faster times. The first impressive race came from Katarzyna Bachleda-Curus (POL) who had also been strong in yesterday’s 3000m. She has an Olympic bronze in the Team Pursuit but had never won an individual medal. Bachleda-Curus lost a little to Ter Mors in every lap, but her 1:55.93 brought her silver. Lotte van Beek (NED) in pair nine reached 1:56.28, at that time good enough for second place behind the 33-year-old Polish mother, and then came Brittany Bowe (USA) and Ireen Wüst (NED) in the final pair. Bowe opened very fast, but could not maintain her speed in the second half of the race, finishing only in sixth place, while Wüst was within Ter Mors’s time until 1100m. However, a 30.9 final lap was outside her reach and she finished with 1:55.33, winning the A-division in a time that was also within the former track record. She retook the lead in the World Cup with 280 points, Bowe dropped back to second with 244 and Van Beek was third today and also in the ranking with 230 points.
Ter Mors said: “I know that I skated fast and tried to have an even race, which resulted in a nice time. I focus on my technique as I notice it can be better. I enjoy what I do, in both long track and short track.”
Men’s Team Pursuit
In the Team Pursuit the ranking after this competition would determine the list of eight qualified countries for the Olympic Games. The Polish team had to climb in the rankings to qualify and they skated a strong and even race toward 3:43.81, overtaking France and Canada in the ranking. The German team was the next one in danger and missed out on qualification, as Canada keep its place in the top six. Of those outside the top six, France has the right to go to the Olympics with the fastest time from Salt Lake City and Russia will take the last place as Olympic host. The Dutch team managed, even without Sven Kramer and Koen Verweij, to keep their unbeaten status as Jorrit Bergsma, Jan Blokhuijsen and Douwe de Vries reached 3:41.46, faster than the Koreans who finished in a sharp 3:41.92 with Seung-Hoon Lee, Hyong-Jun Joo and Cheol-Min Kim. The Polish team with Zbigniew Bródka, Konrad Niedzwiedzki and Jan Szymanski took the bronze. The Dutch lead the World Cup with 300 points, Korea follows with 220 and the USA has 190. The other qualified countries for the Olympics are Norway, Poland, Canada, France and Russia.
Tomorrow’s program has the second 500m and the 5000m for Men, and the Ladeis’ 1000m and Team Pursuit.