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Bowe takes silver, world record falls on final day of speed skating worlds

U.S. speed skater proved herself a double medal threat when she won silver in the 1500m at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships one day after claiming the 1000m world title.

Brittany Bowe closed out her ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships run on Sunday in Heerenveen, Netherlands, with her best world championship result in the 1500m in six years, claiming the silver medal and proving she is a double medal threat heading into next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics.

Ragne Wiklund was the surprise winner in 1:54.613 to become the first Norwegian women’s world champion at any distance in the competition’s 25-year history. This is the 20-year-old’s first World Cup or world championship medal. Bowe, 32, was 0.42 seconds back in 1:55.034, followed closely by 2020 bronze medalist Russian Evgeniya Lalenkova (1:55.099).

Bowe secured her fourth career medal in the 1500m after winning the title in 2015 and bronze in 2016 and 2019, breaking her tie with Jennifer Rodriguez and Heather Bergsma for the most by a U.S. woman at that distance.

This is her 11th single distance world medal, furthering her stance as the most decorated U.S. woman that was reached on Saturday when she won her third 1000m world title. The two-time Olympian will enter the Olympic season as reigning world champion – and now world silver medalist in another event – for the first time in her career as she seeks her first individual medal at a Games.

In the final race of the day - and competition - the season’s sole world record was set by relative unknown Nils van der Poel, who ends a breakout season.

With no World Cup or world championship medals to his name one month ago, Van der Poel now has a World Cup silver in the 5000m and world titles in both the 5000m and 10,000m. His winning time in the 10,000m was 12:32.952, cutting 10 seconds off his previous personal best and nearly a second off the previous world record set by Canadian Graeme Fish exactly one year earlier. When Van der Poel, 24, won the 5000m on Thursday he became the first Swede to earn an individual medal at single distance worlds.

Bowe, meanwhile, entered worlds as a favorite after winning both of this season’s 1500m World Cup races, also held in the Thialf venue during speed skating’s bubble season, which marked her first wins at that distance in nearly two years and first consecutive wins of her career.

“Winning those first two puts a little pressure on you, but to have pressure is a privilege, so I’ll take that,” Bowe told Dutch broadcaster NOS after her 1000m win.

After only taking two bronze medals in last season’s five 1500m World Cup races, she worked hard in the offseason to return to the top in that event.

“I just wasn’t feeling strong in that race,” Bowe said leading into the season, “so this summer and fall and into the winter, I’m really, really focused on getting back to that competitive edge in the 1500m.”

Having also won all three of the season’s 1000m races, she is experiencing a string of multiple-distance success she last saw in 2016 before a concussion in July of that year halted her run.

Dutch skaters were victorious in Sunday’s remaining races, with Thomas Krol winning his second 1500m world title in 1:43.752 and Irene Schouten claiming her country’s first women’s 5000m gold in a personal best 6:48.537. Schouten leaves worlds as the most decorated skater at this year’s event, with gold in the 5000m and team pursuit, and bronze in the 3000m and mass start.

American Joey Mantia took fifth in the men’s 1500m, his best result of the season at that distance, one day after winning the mass start gold medal.

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