Davis wins 1,000; Fredricks tops 500
KEARNS, Ut. He’s won two Olympic gold medals and eight in the World Cup. That success hasn’t kept Shani Davis from getting excited about little challenges, and preparing for new ones.
Consider Monday, when he won the 1,000-meter race at the U.S. Speed Skating Championships, turning in a time more than a second faster than he has skated all season.
“It’s pretty cool to have that under my belt,” Davis said after covering 2 1/2 laps on the Utah Olympic Oval in 1 minute, 7.58 seconds. Trevor Mariscano was second (1:08.75) and Brian Hansen third (1:08.78). “I was expecting a 1:07, but I thought it would be a higher 1:07. So I did better than I thought I would do.”
Janesville’s Tucker Fredricks won the men’s 500 meters Monday in a time of 34.88 seconds. Joey Lindsey was second (35.11), and Davis third (35.29).
Davis also broke another barrier—the 25-second lap barrier—on the fast Olympic track, with a split time of 24.8 seconds.
This season already has been successful for Davis, the two-time defending Olympic champion in the 1,000 meters. Last week he won the 500, 5,000 and 1,500, and added a silver in the 10,000 to claim the U.S. Allround title.
Though he hadn’t skated a 10,000 in more than two years, he added the long-track event with hopes of improving at the World Allround championships next month in Calgary.
He’s also added 1976 Olympic gold medalist Peter Mueller (1,000 meters) as a coach.
“It’s nice to have Peter around,” Davis said of Mueller, who has coached stars from Bonnie Blair to Dan Jensen. “He’s coached a lot of the really great skaters and he’s like an expert in training and conditioning. He’s laid back and fun and he just wants to win really bad. It’s good to have someone that’s as ambitious as I am, pushing me to go out there and train.”
Davis said if he skates to the best of his ability, he has a shot at medaling or even winning both the world sprint and Allround titles in the same year. He won world Allround in 2006 and the world sprint title in 2009—but never both in the same year.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself because there’s an awful lot of competitors skating really well,” Davis said. “We’ll have to see when that competition comes.”
Next up are the World Sprint Championships in the Netherlands, and Davis would like nothing more than to add his photo to that wall of fame.
“I would love to do well there,” Davis said. “I’ve never won a championship in Heerenveen. It’s kind of like the mecca to try to win there.”
He said the crowds make it feel like the World Series or a Super Bowl.
“There’s a lot of spectators, a lot of history in that rink and it’s hard to compete over there at times.” he said.
For all the medals Davis has won, he has yet to win a spot on that wall leading to the Heerenveen rink.
“To get your face up on the wall would be cool,” Davis said.
The U.S. Speed Skating Championships continue Tuesday at the Olympic Oval.
But Heather Richardson is taking the day off to get treatment on her ailing back.
She skated through the pain Monday to post the fastest times in the world this season with wins in the 500 and 1,000 meters
Richardson skated to a personal best in the 500, winning in 37.58 seconds over Rebekah Bradford (38.60) and Lauren Cholewinski (38.90).
Richardson also won the 1,000 in 1 minute, 14.70 seconds. It was more than two seconds faster than Bradford (1:16.92). Brittany Bowe was third in 1:18.44.
Richardson, sixth in the Vancouver Games in the 500 and ninth in the 1,000, said an MRI last week revealed a problem between her fifth and sixth lumbar vertebrae.
“It got lit up after my 500 today,” Richardson said of sharp pain in her lower back. “It’s not great, but I push through it.”