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January 19, 2009
Drama on the ice as Davis and Wang crowned World Sprint Champions

HAPPIEST MAN IN MOSCOW: New Men's World Sprint champion Shani Davis competing in Nagano last year. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

From the ISU

MOSCOW, January 19, 2009 - Shani Davis from the USA and Beixing Wang from China were crowned the World Sprint Champions for 2009.

Wang finished on every distance podium, losing slightly to defending champion Jenny Wolf (GER) in the 500m, but gaining much in the 1000m.

Shani Davis, who had been World Allround Champion for 2005 and 2006, moved his way forwards after a tenth place on the first 500m, but winning the 1000m races in new track records and approaching his personal best time in the second 500m, while the two main rivals defending champion Kyou-Hyuk Lee (KOR) and Takaharu Nagashima (JPN) gave it away in the final race.

Ladies

28 skaters participated. Jenny Wolf defended her title, Anni Friesinger (GER), the former World Champion from two years ago, made her comeback after an absence due to an operation on her knee, and Beixing Wang, who could not skate well last year as her skates were lost at London airport, came to claim what she knew was within her reach.

Anni Friesinger skated in the first pair and was relieved with her 39.08, her best time so far this season. Dutch Annette Gerritsen, second on last year’s 500m, skated in the 11th pair with home favourite Julia Nemaya. After a 10.43 opening, the fastest at that moment, Gerritsen was clearly in the lead, but in the turn she lost her balance and fell. Nemaya finished in 38.55, the fastest time at that point.

After a few minutes to repair the ice, Beixing Wang and Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR) could skate. Wang finished in 38.10, and Sang-Hwa Lee in 38.33. Only Jenny Wolf, in the final pair, could beat that, although with her 38.00, a track record, the advantage she needed to build was only small.

Anni Friesinger started the 1000m in the first pair, due to her lack of competition this season, but impressed by taking the track record in 1:16.48. Sang-Hwa Lee only did 1:18.68 on the 1000m, and lost in the ranking to Friesinger. Friesinger’s time stood until Margot Boer improved the track record to 1:16.29, giving the Dutch something to cheer about. Nobody bettered that. Friesinger was second on this distance and Beixing Wang took third with 1:16.53, taking the lead after the first day. Jenny Wolf, not used to the 1000m, skated 1:17.60 and was second overall. The surprising third in the standings was Chinese Jing Yu, who skated a personal best of 1:17.07.

On the second 500m, Jenny Wolf could hardly gain some time back on Wang. Both ladies were below the track record skated Saturday, bringing Moscow its first 37s: 37.86 for Wolf and 37.91 for Wang. Wang was still leading with 114.275, Wolf had 114.650 and usually her 1000m is not strong enough to overtake Wang. No surprises for the third place, Sang-Hwa Lee stayed ahead of Gerritsen with 37.38 and 37.40. Jing Yu skated another personal best time, 38.40 and kept her third place in the ranking with 115.355 points.

On the 1000m Anni Friesinger improved the track record to 1:16.01, which brought her to 6th place overall. The youngest competitor, 16-year-old Jee-Min An (KOR), skated her fourth personal best of this weekend, and Chinese Yu Jing did the same. Her 1:16.77 was also the fourth time on the 1000m today, and she kept Margot Boer (third with 1:16.66) behind her in the ranking, thus finishing third in her first big international competition, with 153.740 points. Beixing Wang skated on the podium again, with 1:16.40, and as expected, Jenny Wolf could not beat her. The German sprinter skated 1:17.52 and her 153.410 points were far behind the winner’s 152.475. There were three Chinese skaters in the top-5, as Peiyu Jin was fifth, behind Dutch Margot Boer.

Beixing Wang: “I just did my best. I showed before that I could be good on both distances. I waited on this for almost two years. Last year I had bad luck. Everything went well here, I had really good skating and am really glad about it.”

Men

There were 31 participants, including the champion of Argentina who reached the qualifying time only a week ago. Main favourite here was Korean Kyou-Hyuk Lee, the champion of the past two years. In absence of the injured Jeremy Wotherspoon (CAN, four-time champion) the main competition should come from Keiichiro Nagashima (JPN).

Drama for the Dutch in the 500m when former champion Erben Wennemars, in his 10th World Championships had his best opening in a long time, 9.88, but fell in the final turn and seriously injured his groin; he was carried off the ice and his tournament was over. A little later Stefan Groothuis, Dutch sprint champion, fell at the start, when the point of his skate stuck into the ice. He got up, lost a few seconds, and finished in 38.07. The remaining two Dutchmen were careful in the turns, but did a good job, Simon Kuipers with 35.44 took the lead. Then Keiichiro Nagashima beat Dmitry Lobkov (RUS) with almost half a second, taking his track record in 35.01.

Kyou-Hyuk Lee, who in the past two years had his strongest day the second day of the tournament, started strong and lowered the track record to 34.96, beating Fengtong Yu (CHN) in a duel. Yu skated 35.08, good for third place. Tucker Fredricks (USA) was fourth with a 35.10, Pekka Koskela (FIN) fifth with 35.27. 1000m-crack Shani Davis was tenth with 35.63, and he should be able to gain something on the 1000m.

On that distance, 500m specialists Fengtong Yu (1:12.88) and Tucker Fredricks (1:11.37) lost some ground. The first 1000m specialists to skate were Kuipers and Nagashima. Nagashima opened fast, 16.14, a 25.2 lap, and then Kuipers came with a 26.6 final lap, overtaking Nagashima through last inner, and finishing in a new TR of 1:08.93. Nagashima was also below the former mark of Lalenkov, in 1:09.41 and took the lead in the ranking with 69.715 points. Mark Tuitert only reached 1:09.80, as he missed a strong opponent, having drawn Wennemars as pairmate. Stefan Groothuis

won a 1000 this year but not today. He had 1:09.32, just behind Kuipers, and then came Davis with 1:08.86, Track Record. Kyou-Hyuk Lee finished fifth in 1:09.47, and narrowly kept the lead with 69.695 points. Pekka Koskela was with 1:10.54 not impressive on the 1000m and was fifth overall.

The first day had proved how quickly something can happen and how easily drama can enter the competition. But on the second 500m everything went ok. Phil Brojaka set a second British national record of 36.67. Fengtong Yu skated a track record of 34.94.

Finnish Mika Poutala, who was sick, managed today to climb on the podium with 35.15. Shani Davis skated a much better 500m than on Saturday, building his speed throughout the race and finishing in 35.18, only 0.01 above his personal best time from highland rink Calgary, which brought him to third place overall. He was paired with Nagashima, who won in a track record of 34.91. Kyou-Hyuk Lee in the final pair finished in 35.16 and was now second overall behind Nagashima, needing to beat him with 0.46 second.

In the final 1000m, first Denny Morrison (CAN) set a track record with 1:08.77. The top-three skaters, Shani Davis, Kyou-Hyuk Lee and Keiichiro Nagashima, were skating in that order in the last three pairs. Davis skated a very good 1:08.66, another track record, bringing him to a high 139.560 points. Lee opened fast as necessary, but then he fell in the turn, out of balance on the brittle ice like Wennemars a day earlier. Instead of taking a sure podium place, Lee could not finish. For Nagashima it now seemed easy to claim the title, he only needed 1:09.87, and he had skated 1:09.41 the previous day. But the Japanese lost all his lead in a tough final lap and finished in 1:10.19. This crowned Shani Davis the World Sprint Champion, Nagashima had the silver with 139.720 points. The bronze went to Simon Kuipers, who finished his 1000m now in 1:09.55. His 140.450 points were enough to keep Pekka Koskela (140.585) behind him. Denny Morrison climbed to fifth.

Davis: “I had to start with a good 500m today and tried to put pressure on skaters that were ahead of me. Today it worked and I am the happiest man in Moscow today. Since I have an allround background I have the better condition for a second day of sprinting, so I had an advantage but also had to come with speed. I stayed aggressive and attacked and just never give up. I won the World Allrounds here in the past. This ice likes me very much. This year I wanted to focus more on sprints as I am more geared towards middle and short distances and will not skate the Allrounds. I would have liked for Lee to stay at his feet and see what it would bring him. I’m sad for him, but happy that he is okay and not hurt.”

Davis is the second man, after Eric Heiden, to win both the world allround and world sprint title.

Essent ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships – Moscow (RUS)

Medal Winners

500m Ladies

1 Jenny Wolf GER 38.00 TR

2 Beixing Wang CHN 38.10

3 Sang-Hwa Lee KOR 38.33

1000m Ladies

1 Margot Boer NED 1:16.29 TR

2 Anni Friesinger GER 1:16.48

3 Beixing Wang CHN 1:16.53

500m Ladies

1 Jenny Wolf GER 37.86 TR

2 Beixing Wang CHN 37.91

3 Sang-Hwa Lee KOR 38.38

1000m Ladies

1 Anni Friesinger GER 1:16.01 TR

2 Beixing Wang CHN 1:16.40

3 Margot Boer NED 1:16.66

500m Men

1 Kyou-Hyuk Lee KOR 34.96 TR

2 Keiichiro Nagashima JPN 35.01

3 Fengtong Yu CHN 35.08

1000m Men

1 Shani Davis USA 1:08.84 TR

2 Simon Kuipers NED 1:08.93

3 Stefan Groothuis NED 1:09.32

500m Men

1 Keiichiro Nagashima JPN 34.91 TR

2 Fengtong Yu CHN 34.94 TR

3 Mika Poutala FIN 35.15

1000m Men

1 Shani Davis USA 1:08.66 TR

2 Denny Morrison CAN 1:08.77 TR

3 Yevgenij Lalenkov RUS 1:09.52

Overall Ladies

1 Beixing Wang CHN 152.475

2 Jenny Wolf GER 153.410

3 Jing Yu CHN 153.740

Overall Men

1 Shani Davis USA 139.560

2 Keiichiro Nagashima JPN 139.720

2 Simon Kuipers NED 140.450

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