Having skated world records in the 3000m and the 5000m last week in Calgary, Martina Sáblíková (CZE) ended the season with yet another world record to win the 3000m at the World Cup final in Salt Lake City on Saturday. Brittany Bowe (USA) also clocked a world record in the 1000m on home ice. Nao Kodaira (JPN) won the season's penultimate 500m, but fell 0.11 short of the world record.
Tough two final laps of the season for Sáblíková
World record holder Martina Sáblíková (CZE) © International Skating Union (ISU)
Martina Sáblíková (CZE) started the 3000m in the final pairing versus Isabelle Weidemann (CAN). Esmee Visser (NED) and Natalya Voronina (RUS) were in first and second place, both having set new national records with 3:54.02 and 3:54.06 respectively.
"When I saw those times I thought it would be hard to beat," Sáblíková said. "I did not feel very well the last days, I was very tired. But in the locker room my teammates said: 'It's the last seven-and-a-half laps of the season.' That's how I found the motivation to try and give it my all once more. I started faster than I ever skated before and I did not think I could keep it up. The final two laps were very hard, but I said to myself: 'It's the last two laps of the season.' That's how I managed to pull it off."
Visser and Voronina had to settle for second and third place. With her win Sáblíková sealed the long distance World Cup, with Visser and Voronina again coming second and third.
'Close-to-perfect race' for Bowe
Brittany Bowe (USA), who clocked a world record on home ice in Salt Lake City © International Skating Union (ISU)
Japan’s Miho Takagi and Nao Kodaira set the pace in the Ladies' 1000m. Both were faster than Kodaira's 2017 world record of 1:12.09. Takagi had the final inner corner and chased Kodaira down to stop the clock at 1:11.71. Kodaira finished in 1:11.77.
Brittany Bowe (USA) skated straight after the two Japanese ladies had stunned the crowd with their blistering pace.
"Going after Miho and Nao, both going 1:11.7, that's a tough act to follow," Bowe said. "I knew I had to have a close-to-perfect race. If I had the opener that I'm capable of, and if I could do a 6.3 lap, I had a chance to beat it. I looked up on the scoreboard in my first lap and it was 6.3, and I just wielded my way to the finish line."
Takagi and Kodaira had to settle for second and third place in the distance as well as in the final World Cup ranking. Takagi was happy with her own performance, despite not finishing top: "I had a very good race with Nao but Bowe was just too fast," she said. "And she even had to skate the final outer corner, so she had to do it all by herself, which makes it all the more impressive."
Kodaira wins but falls short of record
Nao Kodaira (JPN) in full flight during the women's 1000m © International Skating Union (ISU)
Earlier on Saturday Kodaira had challenged the 500m world record, but came 0.11s short of Sang-Hwa Lee's (KOR) 2013 time, 36.36. The Japanese Olympic Champion will have another shot at the record in the season's final 500m race on Sunday. She said: "I'm going to try it again. I'll have to skate a faster opening. Today it was 10.27, for a world record it has to be 10.1, which I have done once or twice before."
Austrian Vanessa Herzog (36.85) and Russian Angelina Golikova (36.93) came second and third in the 500m. With her second place Herzog secured the 500m World Cup. Golikova is second in the ranking, trailing by 128 points, with only 120 points available for the winner in the final race on Sunday.
Vanessa Herzog, of Austria, who secured the 500m World Cup on Saturday © International Skating Union (ISU)
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