Brittany Bowe (USA) and Femke Kok (NED) each took four gold medals from four World Cup races at the Heerenveen Hub, but Natalia Voronina (RUS) was the biggest sensation at the second and final leg of the ISU World Cup series on Sunday. The 26-year-old smashed the seven-day-old 3000m track record to bounce back from her rusty start to the season.
Kok reigns again in 500m
Four out of four. Since 20-year-old Femke Kok (NED) started her first 500m World Cup race in the A Division last week, she has won them all. At 37.33 seconds, her fourth outing was her slowest of the past two weekends, but it was still enough for gold.
Angelina Golikova grabbed her fourth 500m silver on Sunday. The 29-year-old Russian opened faster than Kok again, but in the full lap she couldn’t match her younger rival, who was the only one to skate the circuit in less than 27 seconds (26.94).
Daria Kachanova (RUS) took her first World Cup medal of the season with bronze in 37.63, rebounding from a hard crash in last week’s second 500m. She said: “[Last week’s crash] doesn’t bother me anymore. There’s no injuries and today’s 1000m [winning the B division in 1:15.10] gave me confidence heading into the 500m.”
3000m track record for Voronina
After Irene Schouten (NED) lowered the track record to 3 minutes and 57.15 seconds in the 3000m last week, it was Natalia Voronina’s turn this Sunday. The Russian world record holder in the 5000m finished in 3:56.85.
Voronina had come eighth in 4:02.96 in last week’s 3000m. “I think I did a little too much last week, with the Team Pursuit and some fast extra laps in training,” she said. “This week I did less in training.”
Her six-second improvement came as a surprise to her. “It’s incredible how the level has gone up in the 3000m this season,” she said. “I had not expected to be this fast myself, because I did not skate very well over the past few weeks. I just wanted to skate well technically and aimed at a sub-four-minute time, but two laps into the race I felt good and I knew I could be really fast today.”
Antoinette de Jong (NED), who held the track record before Schouten broke it last week, finished second in 3:58.90 and Schouten had to settle for bronze in 4:00.15.
Antoinette de Jong (NED) says there is a "beautiful rivalry" in the ladies 3000m © International Skating Union (ISU)
De Jong was philosophical about having lost her track record last week and coming second on Sunday. She said: “The level and the depth in the field is superb. If you compare my race to [competitions in Heerenveen] over the past years, you’d always win with 3:59. Ireen [Wüst] skated 3:58 twice, but that’s a long time ago. Maybe I broke that barrier skating 3:57 a month ago. After that you had Irene Schouten, and now that 3:56. The competition is merciless. It’s a beautiful rivalry.
“I’m in the middle of a training period now, and I know that I can’t expect too much. Jac [coach Jac Orie] was very happy with this time. I’m at 75-80 precent now and I hope to be able to lift it to a hundred in two weeks’ time.”
Bowe ready for World Championships
Brittany Bowe (USA) was the only lady to finish the 1000m under 1:14, stopping the clock at 1:13.96 for her fourth gold medal in two World Cup weekends. She said: “It definitely feels great to be back on top, but like I’ve said time and time again, it’s great to win World Cups, but the goal is to win worlds [ISU World Single Distance Championships] in a couple of weeks.
“But that said, I’m just super grateful for these four wins. Hard work paying off, it’s always nice when it works out that way.”
Whereas Bowe won last week’s 1000m with an 0.33-second margin over Jorien ter Mors (NED), the gap to this week’s number two, Angelina Golikova, was only 0.09 seconds.
“Angelina had the 1000m of her life and it was fun to see the excitement on her face,” Bowe said.
The American was due up versus Ter Mors two pairings later and did not let herself get distracted by other skaters’ performances. She continued: “After that, it was time to get to work and focus on my own race. I had a great first chase on Jorien on that first backstretch to get it going. The last lap did not come as easy as it has been for me and so it was a tight race.”
Ter Mors, who had skipped Saturday’s 500m and 1500m races with a sore back, was not able to step up to the podium again, finishing fourth in 1:14.64, leaving Femke Kok in third place. The four-time 500m winner thus collected her career first World Cup medal in the 1000m too.
Where to Watch
Viewers will be able to watch the ISU Speed Skating competitions that will take place within the hub either via their national broadcaster / channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel.
All the information is available in the Where to Watch which will be updated after each competition. The individual announcements and entry lists will be published under the respective events as soon as they are available. For further information regarding the ISU Speed Skating Hub please visit: https://www.isu.org/heerenveen2021.
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