Norway took gold and bronze in the men’s 1500m at their home World Cup event in Stavanger on Saturday. Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) clinched his second career individual World Cup win and Sindre Henriksen (NOR) made his individual podium debut. Joey Mantia (USA) grabbed silver.
Pedersen finished in 1 minute, 45.07 seconds, Mantia took 1:45.28, while Henriksen stopped the clock at 1:45.37.
The difference was made in the final lap. Pedersen needed just 27.4 seconds for the final 400 meters. Eight skaters were faster than the Norwegian at the 1100-meter split, but only one competitor other than Pedersen was capable of skating a sub-28-second final lap – his compatriot, Allan Dahl Johansson (NOR), who finished in sixth place in 1:45.58.
The tenth place of Håvard Bøkko (NOR) meant that the top ten skaters included four Norwegians. Speed skating in the nation seems to be enjoying a resurgence after a poor decade.
The results had been a long time coming, Pedersen explained:
“It takes time to build up a new generation. We’ve been a big group of young skaters a little longer but now we get older, so we just had to wait some years. It’s always been there. “
Henriksen was happy to give the home crowd something to cheer for.
“Last season was not so good for us, but we’ve been patient and working really good. We have a good mentality in the team and now it pays off.
“We have a lot of [speed skating] tradition in Norway of course. People want this and finally we turned it around.
“This is a dream come true for me. Who would have though this some years ago?”
Henriksen had made an important technical change to improve his 1500m races.
“I’ve been racing with the hand on the back in the 1500m this year and that really pays off because I have really long legs. I can get more momentum in the straights.
“This is the second time I’ve done it in competition.”