Speed skating-China’s Gao, American Jackson win maiden World Cup gold medals
Written by on November 12, 2021
November 13, 2021
(Reuters) – China’s Gao Tingyu and American Erin Jackson claimed their first World Cup speed skating gold medals after breaking track records in Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Poland on Friday to sound out a warning to their rivals ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
China have never won gold in men’s Olympic speed skating and Gao was the country’s first medallist when he won bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
In Poland, Gao finished with a time of 34.26 seconds to win gold but brushed aside the World Cup victory saying what mattered was winning an Olympic medal on home turf in February.
“I’m very excited about my first World Cup gold but the main goal this season is to go to the podium of the Beijing Olympic Games,” Gao said.
The 23-year-old was 0.28 seconds ahead of Japan’s Tatsuya Shinhama, while Canada’s Laurent Dubreuil took the bronze.
“When you open 9.32 (seconds), then you have a pretty big lead, right? And it’s not like his lap is bad. His lap is as good as ours,” Dubreuil said.
“I expect him to win a lot of medals this fall, but we’ll see how it builds up throughout the year. We all want to be better in February than we are now but today he was extremely impressive.”
In the women’s 500m, Jackson set a time of 37.61 seconds after a blistering start where she clocked a 10.39s opener.
“It’s still early in the season, of course. It’s like anyone’s game, but I’m going for the top,” Jackson, 29, said.
Japan’s 2018 Olympic champion Nao Kodaira was second while Russia’s Olga Fatkulina, who was paired with Jackson in the heats, finished third.
“I was surprised with Erin’s speed,” Fatkulina said. “But I followed my plan and got the bronze, not so bad for the first stage of the World Cup.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)