Heather Richardson-Bergsma, U.S. speed skater, sets world record
Canadian men take gold in team pursuit in Calgary
Saturday at Calgary's Olympic Oval saw a world record and Canadian medals in two events at the first World Cup Speed Skating event of the season.
Heather Richardson-Bergsma of the United States set a world record in the women's 1,000 metres Saturday. Richardson-Bergsma posted a new mark of one minute 12.51 seconds at the Olympic Oval in Calgary.
Her American teammate Brittany Bowe had lowered the world record just minutes earlier with a time of 1:12.54.
"When she (Bowe) set it, I just told myself you can skate fast too, so let's just see what happens," Richardson said.
A slip on the final turn almost cost her the world record time.
"I just had to get to the line after that," Richardson said. "That was the only thing that I was thinking about.
"My legs get a little heavy going into the last inner (corner), so I think there is still room for improvement going into Salt Lake."
Bowe had held the previous record 1:12.58 since 2013.
Hong Zhang of China was third in 1:12.65.
Canadian men skated to gold in the team pursuit event in 3:39.32, just ahead of Korea (3:39.60) with Italy third in 3:41.97. Ted-Jan Bloeman of Calgary, Toronto's Jordan Belchos and Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, Ont. combined for the victory.
"I think the key was our preparation," said Belchos. "We've skated a lot together, we know each other well, we trust each other and when it comes down to these moments when the pressure is on, it's really a great feeling when you trust the guys you are with as well as the preparation you went through."
1st World Cup medal
As a member of the Canadian men's team pursuit that skated to gold on Saturday, Donnelly collected his first career medal. He is taking part this weekend in his first-ever World Cup.
"It's really exciting and I'm really happy," said the 19-year-old skater who is still eligible for junior competitions. "I started to struggle in the last lap, but Ted kept pushing me and the teamwork really paid off. We just kept fighting and it worked really well."
Canada also earned bronze in the women's team sprint behind Japan and China. Marsha Hudey of White City, Sask., Quebec City's Noemi Fiset and Winnipeg's Heather McLean earned third spot in the event.
In the men's 1000 metre race, Dutch skaters placed first and third as Gerben Jorritsma took the gold, with Kjeld Nuis in the bronze medal spot. In between was Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov. Vincent De Haitre was the top Canadian in 8th; Alexander St-Jean was 14th, one spot ahead of Alex Boisvert-Lacroix.
Competition continues Sunday with 500 and 1500 metre races for women and men as well as mass start races.
With files from The Canadian Press