The first outdoor World Cup since the 2008 competition at Baselga di Pine in Italy in 2008 will be held this weekend on Japan’s Hokkaido island, at the Tomakomai Highland Sports Center. It’s an important event, especially as the building of monster arenas to house a 400 m speed skating track are an expensive component of hosting an Olympic Winter Games.
Could this be a step in the return of speed skating to outdoor facilities for the Games?
The competition will be fierce after the high quality shown at the season opener in Obihiro last week. American Brittany Bowe had an excellent meet, winning the 1,500 m – her 18th career World Cup win – and finishing fourth in the 1,000 m, and fifth and sixth in the two 500 m races. Last week’s top individual placers:
∙ 500 m I: 1. Havard H. Lorentzen (NOR) 2. Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS)
∙ 500 m II: 1. Kulizhnikov (RUS) 2. Ryohei Naga (JPN)
∙ 1,000 m: 1. Kulizhnikov (RUS) 2. Kjeld Nuis (NED)
∙ 1,500 m: 1. Denis Yuskov (RUS) 2. Nuis (NED)
∙ 5,000 m: 1. Patrick Roest (NED) 2. Alexander Rumyantsev (RUS)
∙ Mass Start: 1. Andrea Giovannini (ITA) 2. Simon Schouten (NED)
∙ 500 m I: 1. Nao Kodaira (JPN) 2. Vanessa Herzog (AUT)
∙ 500 m II: 1. Kodaira (JPN) 2. Herzog (AUT)
∙ 1,000 m: 1. Herzog (AUT) 2. Miho Takagi (JPN)
∙ 1,500 m: 1. Brittany Bowe (USA) 2. Takagi (JPN)
∙ 3,000 m: 1. Esmee Visser (NED) 2. Natalia Voronina (RUS)
∙ Mass Start: 1. Nana Takagi (JPN) 2. Irene Schouten (NED)
Prize money is paid for World Cup races, with $1,500-1,000-800 for the top three placers, although for distances skated twice, the payment for each race is halved.
Look for results here.