Sun, Nov 11, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Speedskater Wotherspoon breaks 500m world record


Canada's Jeremy Wotherspoon skates in the men's 500m World Cup race at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, on Friday.


Speedskater Jeremy Wotherspoon of Canada set the world record for 500m and Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands tied the record for the 1,500m in the World Cup at Utah Olympic Oval on Friday.

Skating against Shani Davis of the US in the next-to-last pairing, Wennemars matched the mark of 1 minute, 42.32 seconds Davis set in Calgary, Alberta, on March 4. Davis finished in 1 minute, 42.92 seconds, taking third place behind Canada's Denny Morrison, who was timed in 1 minute, 42.79 seconds in the final pairing.

In the earlier 500m, Wotherspoon was timed in 34.03 seconds and broke the mark of 34.25 seconds set by South Korea's Lee Kang-seok during the world single distance championships at the Utah oval on March 9. It was the first World Cup race in 20 months for the three-time Olympian, who rested last season.

Lee skated minutes after Wotherspoon in the final pairing, and nearly reclaimed the record. He set a South Korean national mark and improved on his previous world record, finishing in 34.20 seconds but falling short of Wotherspoon.

It was Wotherspoon's first World Cup since March last year. He spent part of his hiatus on a fishing boat in Norway and worked on his upper-body strength and balance to alleviate lingering back injuries.

In other races on the first day of the three-day event, China's Wang Beixing won the women's 500m and 1,000m in 37.32 seconds and 1 minute, 14.19 seconds, respectively.

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