Brittany Bowe (USA), Femke Kok (NED) and Irene Schouten (NED) on Sunday each collected their second gold medal from the first leg of the 2020/2021 World Cup series in Heerenveen. The USA skater added the 1000m victory to her 1500m gold on Saturday, while Kok became the first Dutch lady to win the 500m twice in one World Cup weekend. Her compatriot Irene Schouten was proud to put her name on the board of Thialf track records when she won the 3000m to add to her Mass Start triumph.
Historic medal for Kok after eventful 500m
Kok had hoped to beat the 37-second barrier after equaling her personal best of 37.08 on Saturday, but the stars didn’t align on Sunday. Dione Voskamp (NED) and Daria Kachanova (RUS) crashed before Kok faced Vanessa Herzog in the penultimate pairing, and the Austrian fell in the first 50 meters.
Femke Kok becomes the first Dutch lady to win the 500m twice in one World Cup weekend © International Skating Union (ISU)
“Those crashes in the run-up caused a little delay, which interferes with the preparation and when Herzog also crashed I thought, oh shit,” explained Kok. “I had prepared to skate a nice crossover [drafting behind Herzog’s back] and now I had to do it alone. But I’m glad how it eventually worked out and I’m very proud to be the first Dutch lady to win the 500m twice in one weekend.”
Fatkulina’s preparations for her race had been disrupted when team-mate Kachanova crashed near her. “I went to Daria to make sure she was OK,” said Fatkulina. “I didn’t see any blood and she appeared to be all right, so I could concentrate on my own race again.”
Fatkulina checked on Kachanova again after the race. “She is OK, but the doctor said we’ll have to wait for tonight to see if she doesn’t have a concussion.”
Track record for Schouten in 3000m
After winning the Mass Start on Saturday, Irene Schouten clocked a time of 3 minutes and 57.15 seconds in the 3000m to set a new personal best and Thialf track record.
Endurance specialist Irene Schouten (NED) added the 3000m to her Mass Start gold © International Skating Union (ISU)
“I thought they would beat that time in the remaining pairings,” said the Dutch endurance specialist, who raced in the sixth of eight pairings.
But previous track record holder Antoinette de Jong (NED), who was next up, could only manage 3:58.52 and had to settle for silver. Joy Beune (NED), who had already stopped the clock in 3:58.90, took third place.
Schouten was thrilled to have put her name on the track record board in Heerenveen. “Last year I could only have dreamt about this,” she said. “This is the track where all the best skaters in the world compete. When your name is up on that board, that means you can skate pretty good.”
Buene’s performance earned her a career second World Cup podium after a 1500m bronze in Hamar in 2019. “I was so happy with the podium, I had completely forgotten about that first one… super silly,” she said.
Beune finally beat her personal best of 3:59.47, which she skated as a junior at the high altitude rink in Salt Lake in 2018. The time still stands as a junior world record. “I’m really happy with 3.58, but it’s still only third so I hope to go even faster and I know I’ve got it in me,” she said.
Bowe in happy sandwich again
“I really wanted that one,” Bowe said after winning the 1000m in 1:13.60, ahead of Netherlands’ Jorien ter Mors(1:13.94) and Femke Kok (1:14.07). In Saturday’s 1500m Bowe had also stood between two Dutch ladies on the podium, and she joked: “I’ve been in the Dutch sandwich here the last two days, but I can’t say I’m mad about that.”
Brittany Bowe (USA) topped the podium in between two Dutch ladies for the second day running © International Skating Union (ISU)
Bowe faced World and European 1000m champion Jutta Leerdam (NED) in the final pairing and came out 0.55 seconds ahead. “She’s definitely the one to beat and [she’s got] the target on her back,” said Bowe. “I’ve been in my position, I’ve been in her position and it’s not an easy position to be in. It wasn’t the greatest race for her but there’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll bounce back from that one.”
Bowe looks forward to racing again next weekend, but is really focusing on the ISU World Single Distance Championships in February. Meanwhile she enjoys living in the speed skating ‘bubble’. “I don’t think you’ll hear any athlete complaining about hanging around in the hotel,” she said. “That’s what we like to do: rest hard and race hard.”
Where to Watch
Viewers will be able to watch the ISU Speed Skating competitions that will take place within the hub either via their national broadcaster / channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel.
All the information is available in the Where to Watch which will be updated after each competition. The individual announcements and entry lists will be published under the respective events as soon as they are available. For further information regarding the ISU Speed Skating Hub please visit: https://www.isu.org/heerenveen2021.
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