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U.S. betters Netherlands at speed skating World Championships

Brittany Bowe

HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 15: Brittany Bowe of the USA celebrates after she competes in the Ladies 1500m race during day 4 of the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships held at Thialf Ice Arena on February 15, 2015 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

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Brittany Bowe won her second event, and fourth overall for U.S. speed skaters, capping a chart-topping, resurgent performance by the Americans at the World Single Distance Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands, on Sunday.

The Olympian Bowe captured the 1500m in 1:54.27, two days after she prevailed in the 1000m and one day after she secured silver in the 500m. Bowe relegated to silver home nation star Ireen Wuest, the most decorated female athlete of the Sochi Olympics.

Bowe shared the podium in all of those races with Olympic teammate Heather Richardson, who took 1000m silver Friday, 500m gold Saturday and 1500m bronze Sunday.

The U.S. finished the World Championships with more gold medals in Olympic events than any other nation (full results here). That included the Netherlands, the host nation, which won eight of a possible 12 gold medals in Sochi.

Remember, the U.S. had a best individual finish of seventh in Sochi, due to problems with a new suit (that’s no longer worn) and pre-Olympic training at altitude (the Games were at sea level).

The last time the U.S. won zero medals in long-track speed skating at a Winter Olympics was 1984. The U.S. has won more Winter Olympic medals in long-track speed skating than any other sport.

But before Sochi, and again this season, Bowe and Richardson were improving at a rate in World Cup races that made what happened in Heerenveen seem possible.

In Heerenveen, the U.S. won four gold medals and seven overall. It marked the nation’s greatest medal haul at a World Single Distance Championships, which debuted in 1996. It was also greater than the U.S.’ medal haul at every Winter Olympics since 1980, save 2002.

Next up is the World Sprint Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, in two weeks.

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