Reigning Olympic gold medallist Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., won the first 1,000-metre women's event at the World Sprint Championships on Saturday in Kearns, Utah.

Nesbitt finished in one minute 12.91 seconds at the Utah Olympic Oval.

American Heather Richardson claimed another podium position Saturday, yet it was another third-place finish, behind teammate Brittany Bowe in the 1,000. Bowe clocked another personal best, finishing in 1:13.68 to edge Richardson (1:13.74).

Richardson took bronze earlier Saturday in the women's 500.

Richardson had swept the 1,000 events at last weekend's World Cup in Calgary and set a national record last month at the Utah oval, clocking 1:13.52.

Her time Saturday wasn't enough to catch Nesbitt or training partner Bowe.

Earlier Saturday, China's Jing Yu won the first 500 metres in 37.21.

South Korea's Lee Sang-hwa, who set a world record a week ago at a World Cup event in Calgary, was second in 37.28.

Richardson's third-place finish in 37.31 was her first podium ever at this event. Bowe was 13th after skating a personal-best 38.03.

Yu claimed the overall World Sprint title last year, and held a one-hundredth point lead over Richardson after two races. Nesbitt was third, three-tenths of a point back

Skaters will compete in a second set of 500 and 1,000 events Sunday.

Reigning Olympic bronze medallist Joji Kato of Japan won the men's 500 in a personal-best 34.21. Teammate Ryohei Haga tied for second with Edmonton's Jamie Gregg in 34.43 seconds.

Mitchell Whitmore was the top American finisher in 34.76.

Kato has done well on the Utah Olympic Oval near Salt Lake City, setting a world record there in 2005.

Hein Otterspeer (1:07.46) of the Netherlands edged Latvia's Haralds Silovs (1:07.47) in the men's 1,000.

Dutch teammate Michel Mulder took bronze in 1:07.49