Denis Yuskov, Irene Wust victorious on 1st day of speedskating worlds

Russia's Denis Yuskov and Dutch speedskating star Irene Wust were the winners on the first day of the single distance world championships in Sochi.

Ivanie Blondin top Canadian in 15th place

Brittany Schussler of Canada, seen in November, finished 16th in Thursday's race. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Denis Yuskov won the men's 1,500-meter title Thursday for Russia's first gold medal at the speedskating world championships since 1996.

In the women's race, 2006 Turin Olympics champion Ireen Wust of the Netherlands won her second worlds gold in the 3,000.

Yuskov finished in 1 minute, 46.32 seconds to edge out Olympic 1,000 champion Shani Davis of the United States by 0.51 and compatriot Ivan Skobrev by 0.65 at the Sochi Olympics venue.

Davis, three-time world champion at the distance, led by almost a second ahead with one lap left but Yuskov clocked the fastest time of 28.2 seconds for the last 400 metres to clinch victory.

"It was my best run this season," Yuskov said. "Some five minutes before the heat, I decided that I would make a quick start, and it helped me eventually."

Regina's Lukas Makowsky finished 19th.

Wust timed 4:02.43 to claim her seventh worlds gold. Defending champion Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic was 2.37 seconds behind, with five-time Olympic winner Claudia Pechstein of Germany 5.32 back to claim her 38th podium finish at the worlds.

Ottawa native Ivanie Boldin was top Canadian in 15th, crossing in 4:15.06. Brittany Schussler and Cindy Klassen - both from Winnipeg - were 16th and 19th, respectively.

The worlds at Adler Arena continues Friday with the women's 1,500 and men's 1,000 and 5,000.