Brittany Bowe regains 1000m world title in Heerenveen

Bowe and Joey Mantia struck gold for the USA on Day 3 of the 2021 World Single Distances Championships with hosts Netherlands adding two more titles to their tally.

By Rory Jiwani
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Brittany Bowe regained her 1000m world crown at the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen on Saturday (13 February).

It was a great day for the United States as Joey Mantia won the men's mass start title for the third time.

Hosts Netherlands clinched the other two golds on the day to take their tally to five with Kai Verbij reclaiming the 1000m title he won for the first time in 2019, and Marijke Groenewoud taking the women's mass start.

In the absence of skaters from powerhouse nations Japan and Korea due to COVID concerns, the Dutch have dominated with a total of 12 medals ahead of the Russian Skating Union on eight.

Bowe back to her best

Six years to the day after claiming her first world crown in the Thialf Arena, world record holder Brittany Bowe returned to win 1000m gold.

The 32-year-old American disappointed on home ice in Salt Lake City 12 months ago, but she was back to form in the Netherlands.

Bowe produced a strong final lap to win her heat against reigning champion Jutta Leerdam in 1:14.12, the Dutchwoman finishing 0.36s behind to take silver.

Bronze went to the Russian Skating Union's Elizaveta Golubeva who set a personal best of 1:14.84 to displace team-mate Olga Fatkulina from the podium.

This was the USA's first medal of the week with Bowe securing her third 1000m world title having previously been victorious in 2015 and 2019. She also won 1500m gold in 2015 and will bid to repeat that Heerenveen 1000m-1500m double on Sunday.

The two-time Olympian Bowe won team pursuit bronze at PyeongChang 2018 and was just out of the medals in all three individual events.

Verbij regains men's title

Kai Verbij made it four golds for the hosts so far this week with victory in the men's 1000m.

PyeongChang silver medallist Havard Lorentzen, who won 500m gold in Korea, took the lead in Heat 9, with a time of 1:08.70.

But the Norwegian quickly found himself down in third as Verbij clocked 1:08.05 to take the lead, with Canada's 500m gold medallist Laurent Dubreuil (+0.51s) moving into second.

There was drama in Heat 11 as last month's European champion Thomas Krol - a team pursuit gold medal colleague of Verbij's from Salt Lake City 12 months ago - was disqualified for two false starts, appearing to twitch just before the gun on each occasion.

That left Joel Dufter to skate solo and the German unsuprisingly struggled, finishing well outside the top 10.

In the final heat, reigning champion and world record holder Pavel Kulizhnikov was half a second down on Verbij's split at the bell and had to readjust slightly on the first bend of his final lap.

The Russian managed to make up some of the gap, but ended up 0.26s adrift of his Dutch rival and had to settle for silver again having been runner-up to Dubreuil in the 500m.

Mass start success for Netherlands and USA

Marijke Groenewoud had the biggest win of her career so far, beating Canada's reigning champion Ivanie Blondin to take gold in the mass start.

The 22-year-old kicked early for home and just held off Blondin to take the 60 points for the final sprint and victory.

The hosts had two athletes on the podium as Olympic bronze medallist Irene Schouten took third in the final sprint and overall.

Claudia Pechstein, who won her first of five Olympic gold medals at Lillehammer 1994 - five years before Grouenewoud was born - and turns 49 later this month, finished in ninth place.

The final gold of the day went to the United States and Joey Mantia who won the men's mass start for the third time.

Mantia swept round the field on the outside at the bell and powered clear to add to his titles in 2017 and 2019, screaming and thumping his chest with delight after the finish.

Arjan Stroetinga of the Netherlands was second, just ahead of Belgium's PyeongChang mass start silver medallist Bart Swings.

The competition draws to a close on Sunday with the men's and women's 1500m, the women's 5000m and the men's 10000m.