Davis, Richardson win again at US speedskating

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 31, 2013 at 8:12 pm •  Published: December 31, 2013
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KEARNS, Utah (AP) — Shani Davis and Heather Richardson will head to the Sochi Olympics with plenty of hype.

Looks as if they're up to the challenge.

Davis and Richardson cruised to victories in the 1,500 meters at the U.S. speedskating trials Tuesday, leaving little doubt they are the top skaters on a team that should have plenty of medal potential in February.

"That was a really great race," Davis said, beaming about his performance at the Utah Olympic Oval. "I'm really happy with my fitness and conditioning right now. I'm going to look to improve in certain areas, but I have plenty of time to do that before Sochi."

Davis already had qualified in the 1,000 — the race he won at the last two Olympics. He took first in the 1,500 with a time of 1 minute, 43.20 seconds, clearly eager to improve on the silver medals he settled for in that event at both Turin and Vancouver.

"That would be a big dream come true, to be able to win a gold medal in the 1,500," Davis said. "I love that race so much because when I was a junior skater, the first race I won was the 1,500."

Richardson crossed the line in 1:54.19 to capture the women's race, beating friendly rival Brittany Bowe for the third straight time at the trials. They also went 1-2 in 500 and 1,000, surely setting up more memorable duels to come in Sochi.

"You know, she beat me three times in the fall," Richardson said, breaking into a big smile. "We're going back and forth. It's all fun."

Richardson has always been stronger in the two shorter races, but she's starting to feel like she could pull out a medal contender in the 1,500, as well.

"I think it's starting to catch up," Richardson said. "I'm excited to see how it goes."

Brian Hansen finished second to Davis in 1:43.70. The other two spots for Sochi were claimed by Joey Mantia (1:44.41) and Jonathan Kuck (1:45.29).

Three Olympic berths were up for grabs on the women's side. Jilleanne Rookard took the remaining position in 1:57.70.

Bowe came into the trials ranked ahead of Richardson in the 1,500 standings, but she wasn't disappointed at all in her performance during the trials. After all, she wasn't even skating before the Vancouver Olympics, deciding to take up the sport after an inlining career and playing college basketball at Florida Atlantic.

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