Skip to content

U.S. speed skaters excel at first post-Olympic World Cup

Mar 9, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

Heather Richardson AP

U.S. speed skaters quickly corrected whatever went wrong at the Olympics.

Heather Richardson and Brian Hansen won races on the final day of World Cup competition in Inzell, Germany, on Sunday. Brittany Bowe added a second-place finish, giving the U.S. eight podium finishes in Inzell after zero medals at the Sochi Olympics.

The Netherlands, which won 23 of 36 speed skating medals in Sochi, had 14 podium finishes in Inzell. It was the only nation better than the U.S. in three days of races.

The two most common explanations for the U.S. struggles in Sochi were a) a new skin suit billed as the fastest in the world that was thrown out after early struggles and b) the fact that most skaters trained at altitude (and a pre-Olympic training camp at altitude in Collalbo, Italy) and the Olympics were held at sea level.

However, U.S. skaters didn’t perform much different in Sochi after they switched to their old suits that brought them so much success in the World Cup season before the Olympics. They were still in the old suits in Inzell.

Inzell is about a half-mile high in elevation, but the U.S. performed well at a World Cup in Berlin in January that wasn’t much above sea level. Plus, some skaters, such as Hansen in Milwaukee, don’t train at elevation.

So what the heck happened in Sochi?

“I think we’re all asking ourselves that same question,” Hansen told Dutch media outlet NOS after his win Sunday. “We all know we were better than we performed in Sochi.

“Was it the skin suit? Was it Collalbo? Was it a coincidence? We don’t know.”

Richardson, who finished eighth and seventh in the 500m and 1000m in Sochi, won both 500m races and the 1000m in Inzell this weekend. She and Bowe went one-two in the 1000m on Sunday.

Bowe, who was eighth and 14th in the 1000m and 1500m at the Olympics, also took third in the 1500m on Friday.

Hansen, who finished ninth and seventh in the 1000m and 1500m at the Olympics, took third in the 1000m on Saturday and won the 1500m in Inzell on Sunday.

“I’m pretty pumped,” Hansen said, holding a piece of paper with the phrase “Happy birthday mom” written in marker. “A little bit bittersweet knowing it was right after the Olympics. I’d rather have this than nothing at all.”

Four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis, who was eighth in the 1000m and 11th in the 1500m at the Olympics, won the 1000m on Saturday and finished fourth behind Hansen in the 1500m on Sunday.

“There’s a lot of mixed feelings,” Davis told NOS on Saturday. “I’m still really depressed about my past results, but I’m happy that I can still race the 1000m at the highest level.

“It lets me know in my heart that it wasn’t me [in Sochi]. This was Shani that should have been two weeks ago.”

The speed skating World Cup concludes in Heerenveen, Netherlands, next weekend.

Inzell Men’s 500m 2
1. Jan Smeekens (NED) 34.91
2. Nico Ihle (GER) 34.97
3. Michel Mulder (NED) 35.00
10. Tucker Fredricks (USA) 35.21
15. Mitchell Whitmore (USA) 35.36

Women’s 1000m
1. Heather Richardson (USA) 1:14.87
2. Brittany Bowe (USA) 1:15.26
3. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) 1:15.34
18. Sugar Todd (USA) 1:18.03

Men’s 1500m
1. Brian Hansen (USA) 1:44.58
2. Denny Morrison (CAN) 1:45.28
3. Koen Verweij (NED) 1:45.68
4. Shani Davis (USA) 1:45.72

Women’s mass start
1. Claudia Pechstein (GER)
2. Janneke Ensing (NED)
3. Irene Schouten (NED)
7. Maria Lamb (USA)

German wins World Cup slalom 3 weeks after car crash

Latest Posts
  1. Five takeaways from U.S. Track and Field Championships

    Jun 29, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The U.S. appears headed for a historically strong World Championships medal haul.

  2. Boston 2024 releases Olympic bid version 2.0 (photos)

    Jun 29, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    Boston 2024 Olympic Stadium

    “The critical issue that everyone asks is, ‘Can we run a privately funded Games with a surplus?'”

  3. Yannick Agnel withdraws from World Swimming Championships

    Jun 29, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Agnel isn’t the only men’s swimming star who will be absent from Worlds.

  4. Justin Gatlin wins 200m at U.S. Championships in another personal best

    Jun 28, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The women’s 800m final was the craziest of the day.

  5. Bernard Lagat emotional after missing first Worlds team since 2005

    Jun 28, 2015, 3:53 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Three first-time Worlds members in the women’s 5000m.

  6. Allyson Felix wins 400m, fastest women upset at U.S. Championships

    Jun 27, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The world’s fastest 400m woman in 2014 and 2015 failed to qualify individually for Worlds, but she still might make it.

  7. WATCH LIVE: U.S. Track and Field Championships — 4 p.m. ET

    Jun 27, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Allyson Felix and LaShawn Merritt are among those in action.

  8. Tyson Gay, Tori Bowie take U.S. 100m titles; Carmelita Jeter hurt

    Jun 26, 2015, 11:59 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    A 2012 Olympic champion failed to qualify for a final and won’t go to the World Championships.

  9. WATCH LIVE: U.S. Track and Field Championships — 10 p.m. ET

    Jun 26, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Watch the men’s and women’s 100m finals on NBC Sports Live Extra.

  10. Five Olympic questions with Pieter van den Hoogenband

    Jun 26, 2015, 3:46 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The Dutch swimming great reminisced about Michael Phelps and picked his dream relay quartet.

  11. U.S. qualifiers for World Track and Field Championships

    Jun 26, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Athletes are earning spots at this weekend’s U.S. Championships.

  12. Trevor Moore, U.S. Olympic sailor, missing in Florida

    Jun 26, 2015, 10:02 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    An unmanned boast was found near a Miami marina.

  13. Galen Rupp, Molly Huddle win 10,000m on U.S. Championships opening night

    Jun 25, 2015, 11:59 PM EDT

    Galen Rupp Getty Images

    Also, a teenager became the fourth fastest American man ever in the 100m.

  14. Andreea Raducan will not be reinstated as 2000 Olympic all-around champion after meeting with IOC president

    Jun 25, 2015, 4:14 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Raducan was stripped after a team doctor gave her cold-medicine pills that contained a banned substance.

  15. World Beach Volleyball Championships preview

    Jun 25, 2015, 1:57 PM EDT

    Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross Getty Images

    Kerri Walsh Jennings concedes she and April Ross are not the favorites.

  16. Five Olympic questions with Steve Nash

    Jun 25, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Nash reflected on sneaking beer into the 2000 Closing Ceremony and a cauldron malfunction at the 2010 Opening Ceremony.

  17. Usain Bolt out of Jamaican Championships

    Jun 25, 2015, 9:36 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Bolt does not need to compete at Nationals to be eligible for the World Championships.