Olympic sports writing: 2004-2015

Selected features and interviews, plus coverage from several Olympics:


Sochi 2014

London 2012 (all Bleacher Report unless noted)

Vancouver 2010: Nordic sports and biathlon (all USA TODAY)

Beijing 2008: Everything, especially soccer (all USA TODAY)

Torino 2006 (USA TODAY)

Athlete interviews (all USA TODAY)

Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 13

Anyone else beginning to think US Speedskating’s super suits aren’t so super? Apparently.

And speedskating is the event responsible for the biggest changes from the original projections. It accounts for most of the USA’s drop, and it accounts for the Netherlands’ lofty rank in the medal table.

Here’s how things are shaping up …


Original projections: Norway 39, USA 35, Canada 30, Russia 26, Germany 23, Austria 22, South Korea 15, Netherlands 14, France 12, Switzerland 11, Sweden 10

If the rest of the projections were to come true, Norway would have 32, and then we’d have a three-way tie at 29 — Canada, USA, Russia. Interesting. Then Austria and the Netherlands at 22, Germany 20, Sweden 14, Switzerland 13, France 12, South Korea 10.

Someone asked about gold medal projections. The original projections there: USA 15, Norway 14, Canada 10, Germany 8, Russia 6, Netherlands among a big group at 5.

The new pace through Thursday would have a four-way tie at 10 each: USA, Norway, Germany, Canada. Then Netherlands 8, Russia 7, Austria 6.


Norway (-2 today, -7 overall): The story continues — still getting some medals at the Nordic venue, just not quite as many as expected. Marit Bjoergen and Emil Hegle Svendsen are usually good bets, but not today in the soft snow.

US Speedskating: Yes, we’re breaking them out separately. It’s one thing for Heather Richardson to miss the podium in the 500, where’s she good but not great. But when she and Brittany Bowe miss out in the 1,000 a day after Shani Davis did the same, then the team is in an 0-for-4 hole. That’s two-thirds of the USA’s current deficit of six.

The better news: The USA swept freestyle skiing’s men’s slopestyle, only the third such sweep in U.S. Winter Games history.


Germany (+1 today, -3 overall): They don’t always win medals, but when they do, they tend to be gold. Seven of their 10 medals so far are gold. Today, they picked up their expected gold in the luge relay along with their first silver — Erik Lesser in biathlon.

South Korea (even today, -5 overall): Picked up a short-track medal as expected.


Netherlands (+2 today, +8 overall): Projected for four medals through this point. They have 12. Can we have speedskating events like “1,000 meters for skaters from somewhere else”? Maybe after we institute “badminton for people not from China” in the summer.

Sweden (+1 today, +4 today): Though, oddly enough, they have no gold so far.

China (+1 today, +2 overall): Gold in each form of speedskating today.

Latvia (+1 today, +2 overall): Slightly exceeding expectations on the sliding track, with one luge medal each of the last two days.


Best Sarah McLachlan influence: Slopestyle medalist Gus Kenworthy is trying to bring a family of stray dogs back to the USA.

Least surprising way technology is changing the Games: Why wait to bump into someone to find a dating prospect? Slopestyle gold medalist Jamie Anderson says dating app Tinder is quite popular in the mountains. Hey, isn’t your event over?

Best performance by an athlete representing Togo: Mathilde-Amivi Petitjean was 68th in the women’s 10k classical cross-country race.

Best reason not to be too cynical about the Olympics: Mike Wise on the kids who share a bond of childhood illnesses with Shaun White. They got to meet him just as a bunch of folks back home were snarking on him.

Best hockey fan:

Most likely to carry the U.S. flag: Nordic athletes.

Best bounce-back: Lowell Bailey wasn’t happy with his Olympics so far, but posting the best result by an American man in Olympic biathlon will change that.

Biggest wipeout: The women’s 500-meter short-track final …


Strangest way to deal with back pain: “Changing poopy diapers,” says Noelle Pikus-Pace, who’s second after the first day of women’s skeleton. No, that just takes your mind off it.

Worst accident: A forerunner (track-tester, basically) at the bobsled venue ran into a track worker. Initial word: leg fractures, not life-threatening injuries.

Worst wardrobe malfunction: Come on, slopestyle skiers — save the baggy pants for the mall.

Strangest wardrobe: A couple of U.S. cross-country skiers opted for tank tops in the balmy weather, looking for a bit as if they were wearing nothing under their bibs.

Today’s weather in Pyeongchang, host of the 2018 Olympics: Cold


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Sochi recap: Speedskating, men’s 1,000 meters

Two-time defending Olympic champion Shani Davis never got in gear, and neither did most of the other favorites on a puzzling day at the speedskating oval. The Netherlands picked up two more medals, with gold for Stefan Groothuis. The winner was fourth in this event in 2010 and a world champion in 2012, but he had done very little since then.

Date: 12-Feb

Sport: Speedskating

Medalists: Stefan Groothuis (Netherlands), Denny Morrison (Canada), Michel Mulder (Netherlands)

SportsMyriad projections: Shani Davis (USA), Denis Kuzin (Kazakhstan), Tae-Bum Mo (South Korea)

How U.S. fared: Davis was never in it, finishing in 1:09.12 (0.73 seconds back). Brian Hansen was just behind him, 0.82 seconds back. They were eighth and ninth.

Joey Mantia was 15th, 1.33 back. Jonathan Garcia, who rebounded from an extraordinary error at the Olympic trials to claim a spot at this distance, was 2.35 back in 28th.

What happened: The competition got serious with the 16th of 20 pairs to go. The Netherlands’ Stefan Groothuis (1:08.39) and Germany’s Nico Ihle (1:08.86) took first and second.

But everyone was still waiting for the favorites. The Netherlands’ Michel Mulder, the gold medalist at 500 meters. Kazakhstan’s Denis Kuzin, the world champion. South Korea’s Tae-Bum Mo, the silver medalist in the 2010 Olympics and 2013 World Championships. Plus the dark-horse North Americans — the USA’s Brian Hansen and Canada’s Denny Morrison.

Pair 17: Mulder went out quickly with Morrison, but the Dutchman faded. Morrison passed him but just missed the time of Groothuis. After 17 pairs, it was Groothuis, Morrison (0.04 seconds back), Mulder (0.35).

Then all eyes were on the defending champion Shani Davis, along with yet another Dutchman, Koen Verweij. From the start, they were slightly off the pace. Then more. Then more. Then they crossed the line nowhere near the podium.

Pair 19: The door was wide-open for Hansen and Mo, who went … even slower. Hansen was just behind Davis’ time. Mo was slower than that.

Two favorites down. Could Kuzin restore order from the final pair? No! He broke down in tears while the Dutch coaches and fans celebrated as they so often do in this sport.

Some perspective on the winners:

World Cup standings, 2013-14: Davis 1st, Mulder 2nd, Morrison 6th … Groothuis 17th.

Best times, 2013-14: Davis 1st, Morrison 4th, Mulder 5th … Groothuis 20th.

Go figure.

Full results

Sochi recap: Speedskating, women’s 500 meters

Russia’s Olga Fatkulina delivered a crowd-pleasing silver, Margot Boer extended the Dutch success with a bronze, but defending champion Sang-Hwa Lee beat everyone. We mean everyone. Her second heat was an Olympic record 37.28 — impressive considering the old record was in the altitude of Salt Lake City — and her total time of 74.70 was also an Olympic record.

Date: 11-Feb

Sport: Speedskating

Event: Women’s 500 meters

Medalists: Sang-Hwa Lee (South Korea), Olga Fatkulina (Russia), Margot Boer (Netherlands)

SportsMyriad projections: Sang-Hwa Lee (South Korea), Olga Fatkulina (Russia), Heather Richardson (USA)

How U.S. fared: Richardson was in range of the podium after finishing fourth in the first run at 37.73 seconds. But she was 0.29 seconds slower in the second run while other skaters improved, sliding to eighth. She’s better in the 1,000.

Brittany Bowe, also better in the 1,000, was fell back in 17th after the first run but improved a bit to 13th in the second. Lauren Cholewinski was 15th. Sugar Todd was 29th.

What happened: Richardson was in the 14th pair of the second heat but dropped off the pace set by Margot Boer one pair earlier. She knew at the finish she wasn’t going to medal.

The 15th pair of China’s Hong Zhang and Germany’s Jenny Wolf moved into the podium places, but that would be temporary.

Olga Fatkulina brought up the crowd noise with the 16th pair. And she delivered. Her time of 37.49 bested her first-run time of 37.57. Lee had gone 37.42 in the first run and would need another strong run to beat the home favorite.

Strong? Yeah, pretty much.

Full results

2014 medal projections: Speedskating

Updated Jan. 21

Some sports run World Cup events right up until the Olympics. Not speedskating. Four World Cup events wrapped up by early December, then two more after Sochi. That’s why these projections have 2013-14 World Cup data rather than last season.

They’ll have the European Championships and World Sprint Championships in January, though, so a few things could still change here.

Salt Lake City still has one of the fastest surfaces in the world, and three world records fell there in November: men’s team pursuit (Netherlands), women’s 500 meters (South Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee) and women’s 1,000 meters (USA’s Brittany Bowe). The best times so far in the World Cup season are all from Salt Lake City and Calgary (except in the men’s 10,000, which was run only in Astana). The 2013 World Single Distance Championships were run in Sochi.

One neat site to check in you want even more data: SpeedskatingResults.com

Around we go …


500 meters

Gold: Tae-Bum Mo (South Korea)
Silver: Michel Mulder (Netherlands)
Bronze: Joji Kato (Japan)

Also considered: Ronald Mulder (Netherlands), Keiichiro Nagashima (Japan), Jan Smeekens (Netherlands)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8: Mo, M. Mulder, Nagashima, Kato, R. Mulder, Artyom Kuznetsov (Russia), Tucker Fredricks (USA), Jesper Hospes (Netherlands)

2013 World Championship top 8: Mo, Kato, Smeekens, M. Mulder, R. Mulder, Dmitry Lobkov (Russia), Denis Koval (Russia), Pekka Koskela (Finland)

Best times, 2013-14: Nagashima (34.24), Gilmore Junio (Canada, 34.25), Kato (34.25), R. Mulder (34.25), M. Mulder (34.26), Mo (34.28), Mitchell Whitmore (USA, 34.29), Fredricks (34.30)

Best times, 2012-13: Kato (34.21), Smeekens (34.32), Koskela (34.36), Jamie Gregg (Canada, 34.36)

2010 Olympic medalists: Mo, Nagashima, Kato

1,000 meters

Gold: Shani Davis (USA)
Silver: Denis Kuzin (Kazakhstan)
Bronze: Tae-Bum Mo (South Korea)

Also considered: Brian Hansen (USA), Denny Morrison (Canada), Michel Mulder (Netherlands)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8: Davis, M. Mulder, Kuzin, Mo, Kjeld Nuis (Netherlands), Morrison, Hansen, Mirko Nenzi (Italy)

2013 World Championship top 8: Kuzin, Mo, Davis, Nuis, Zbigniew Brodka (Poland), Samuel Schwarz (Germany), Mirko Nenzi (Italy), Stefan Groothuis (Netherlands)

Best times, 2013-14: Davis (1:06.88), Nuis (1:07.02), Hansen (1:07.03), Morrison (1:07.44), Michel Mulder (Netherlands, 1:07.46), Mitchell Whitmore (USA, 1:07.52), Kuzin (1:07.71), Koen Verweij (Netherlands, 1:07.71)

Best times, 2012-13: Hein Otterspeer (Netherlands, 1:07.43), Haralds Silovs (Latvia, 1:07.47), Davis (1:07.49), M. Mulder (1:07.49), Nuis (1:07.64)

2010 Olympic medalists: Davis, Mo, Chad Hedrick (USA)

1,500 meters

Gold: Shani Davis (USA)
Silver: Koen Verweij (Netherlands)
Bronze: Denis Yuskov (Russia)

Also considered: Zbigniew Brodka (Poland), Brian Hansen (USA), Denny Morrison (Canada)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8: Davis, Verweij, Yuskov, Brodka, Sverre Lunde Pedersen (Norway), Konrad Niedzwiedzki (Poland), Rhian Ket (Netherlands), Joey Mantia (USA)

Best times, 2013-14: Davis (1:41.98), Hansen (1:42.16), Verweij (1:42.28), Yuskov (1:42.36), Morrison (1:42.79), Brodka (1:42.89), Kjeld Nuis (Netherlands, 1:42.92), Trevor Marsicano (USA, 1:43.02)

Best times, 2012-13: Morrison (1:44.73), Davis (1:44.94), Hansen (1:44.95)

2013 World Championship top 8: Yuskov, Davis, Ivan Skobrev (Russia), Hansen, Pedersen, Brodka, Mark Tuitert (Netherlands), Niedzwiedzki

2010 Olympic medalists: Tuitert, Davis, Håvard Bøkko (Norway)

5,000 meters

Gold: Sven Kramer (Netherlands)
Silver: Jorrit Bergsma (Netherlands)
Bronze: Seung-Hoon Lee (South Korea)

Also considered: Ivan Skobrev (Russia)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (5,000/10,000): Kramer, Bergsma, Lee, Bart Swings (Belgium), Alexis Contin (France), Jonathan Kuck (USA), Bob de Jong (Netherlands), Patrick Beckert (Germany)

Best times, 2013-14: Kramer (6:04.46), Bergsma (6:06.93), Lee (6:07.04), de Jong (6:07.43), Skobrev (6:08.77), Koen Verweij (Netherlands, 6:09.51), Kuck (6:09.73), Sverre Lunde Pedersen (Norway, 6:10.47)

Best times, 2012-13: Kramer (6:10.37)

2013 World Championship top 8: Kramer, Bergsma, Skobrev, Denis Yuskov (Russia), de Jong, Swings, Pedersen, Lee

2010 Olympic medalists: Kramer, Lee, Skobrev

10,000 meters

Gold: Sven Kramer (Netherlands)
Silver: Jorrit Bergsma (Netherlands)
Bronze: Bob de Jong (Netherlands)

Also considered: Seung-Hoon Lee (South Korea)

Best times, 2013-14 (mostly from Dutch trials): Kramer (12:45.09), Bergsma (12:47.42), de Jong (12:50.20), more Dutch people. Top non-Dutchmen: Aleksandr Rumyancev (Russia, 13:11.92), Ivan Skobrev (Russia, 13:14.43), Alexis Contin (France, 13:14.64), Alexej Baumgartner (Germany, 13:16.34)

Best times, 2012-13: Bergsma (12:50.40), de Jong (12:51.22), Kramer (12:55.98), Jan Blokhuijsen (Netherlands, 13:01.60), Lee (13:07.06)

2013 World Championship top 8: Bergsman, Kramer, de Jong, Lee, Bart Swings (Belgium), Shane Dobbins (New Zealand), Marco Weber (Germany), Patrick Beckert (Germany)

2010 Olympic medalists: Lee, Skobrev, de Jong

Team pursuit

Gold: Netherlands
Silver: South Korea
Bronze: USA

Also considered: Norway, Poland, Russia

World Cup 2013-14 top 8: Netherlands, South Korea, USA, Norway, Poland, Canada, Germany, France

2013 World Championship: Netherlands, South Korea, Poland, Russia, Norway, Germany, Canada, Italy

2010 Olympic medalists: USA, Canada, Netherlands


500 meters

Gold: Sang-Hwa Lee (South Korea)
Silver: Olga Fatkulina (Russia)
Bronze: Heather Richardson (USA)

Also considered: Nao Kodaira (Japan), Beixing Wang (China), Jenny Wolf (Germany)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8: Lee, Fatkulina, Richardson, Wolf, Wang, Kodaira, Margot Boer (Netherlands), Thijsje Oenema (Netherlands)

Best times, 2013-14: Lee (36.36), Wang (36.85), Richardson (36.90), Fatkulina (37.13), Wolf (37.14), Boer (37.28), Kodaira (37.29), Jing Yu (China, 37.31)

Best times, 2012-13: Lee (36.80), Thijsje Oenema (37.06), Richardson (37.12), Yu (37.21), Wang (37.23), Wolf (37.28)

2013 World Championship top 8: Lee, Wang, Fatkulina, Wolf, Oenema, Kodaira, Yekaterina Aydova (Kazakhstan), Richardson

2010 Olympic medalists: Lee, Wolf, Wang

1,000 meters

Gold: Heather Richardson (USA)
Silver: Brittany Bowe (USA)
Bronze: Olga Fatkulina (Russia)

Also considered: Sang-Hwa Lee (South Korea), Christine Nesbitt (Canada)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8: Richardson, Bowe, Fatkulina, Lotte van Beek (Netherlands), Lee, Margot Boer (Netherlands), Nao Kodaira (Japan), Ireen Wüst (Netherlands)

Best times, 2013-14: Bowe (1:12.58), Richardson (1:12.61), Wüst (1:13.33), van Beek (1:13.36), Fatkulina (1:13.40), Lee (1:13.66), Nesbitt (1:13.77), Boer (1:13.77)

Best times, 2012-13: Nesbitt (1:12.91), Richardson (1:13.09), Hong (1:13.64)

2013 World Championship top 8: Fatkulina, Wüst, Bowe, Nesbitt, Karolina Erbanova (Czech Republic), Richardson, Hong Zhang (China), Marrit Leenstra (Netherlands)

2010 Olympic medalists: Nesbitt, Annette Gerritsen (Netherlands), Laurine van Riessen (Netherlands)

1,500 meters

Gold: Ireen Wüst (Netherlands)
Silver: Lotte van Beek (Netherlands)
Bronze: Brittany Bowe (USA)

Also considered: Heather Richardson (USA), Yuliya Skokova (Russia)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8: Wüst, Bowe, van Beek, Skokova, Katarzyna Bachleda-Curus (Poland), Ida Njåtun (Norway), Claudia Pechstein (Germany), Ekaterina Lobysheva (Russia)

Best times, 2013-14: Wüst (1:52.08), Bowe (1:52.45), Richardson (1:52.55), van Beek (1:52.95), Skokova (1:53.87), Bachleda-Curus (1:53.95), Lobysheva (1:54.09), Njåtun (1:54.09)

Best times, 2012-13: Richardson (1:53.84), Wüst (1:54.67), Marrit Leenstra (Netherlands, 1:55.03)

2013 World Championship top 8: Wüst, van Beek, Christine Nesbitt (Canada), Diane Valkenburg (Netherlands), Kali Christ (Canada), Karolina Erbanova (Czech Republic), Skokova, Brittany Schussler (Canada)

2010 Olympic medalists: Wüst, Kristina Groves (Canada), Martina Sablikova (Czech Republic)

3,000 meters

Gold: Martina Sablikova (Czech Republic)
Silver: Claudia Pechstein (Germany)
Bronze: Ireen Wüst (Netherlands)

Also considered: Katarzyna Bachleda-Curus (Poland), Antoinette de Jong (Netherlands)

World Cup 2013-14 top 8 (3,000/5,000): Sablikova, Pechstein, de Jong, Bachleda-Curus, Jorien Voorhuis (Netherlands), Ida Njåtun (Norway), Wüst, Yvonne Nauta (Netherlands)

Best times, 2013-14: Sablikova (3:57.79), Pechstein (3:57.80), Wüst (3:59.45), de Jong (3:59.49), Voorhuis (3:59.51), Linda de Vries (Netherlands, 4:01.00), Njåtun (4:01.47), Bachleda-Curus (4:02.12)

Best times, 2012-13: Wüst (3:58.68), Pechstein (4:02.31), Sablikova (4:02.46)

2013 World Championship top 8: Wüst, Sablikova, Pechstein, Diane Valkenburg (Netherlands), de Vries, Bachleda-Curus, Stephanie Beckert (Germany), Bente Kraus (Germany)

2010 Olympic medalists: Sablikova, Beckert, Kristina Groves (Canada)

5,000 meters

Gold: Martina Sablikova (Czech Republic)
Silver: Ireen Wüst (Netherlands)
Bronze: Yvonne Nauta (Netherlands)

Also considered: Claudia Pechstein (Germany)

Best times, 2013-14: Sablikova (6:59.88), Pechstein (7:01.10), Nauta (7:01.62), Masako Hozumi (Japan, 7:01.76), four more Dutch skaters

Best times, 2012-13: Sablikova (6:54.31), Pechstein (7:01.05), Olga Graf (Russia, 7:01.38), Hozumi (7:01.61), Wüst (7:01.95), Stephanie Beckert (Germany, 7:02.52), Linda de Vries (Netherlands, 7:02.77)

2013 World Championship top 8: Sablikova, Wüst, Pechstein, de Vries, Beckert, Diane Valkenburg (Netherlands), Bente Kraus (Germany), Ivanie Blondin (Canada)

2010 Olympic medalists: Sablikova, Beckert, Clara Hughes (Canada)

Team pursuit

Gold: Netherlands
Silver: Poland
Bronze: Japan

Also considered: Canada, Russia

World Cup 2013-14 top 8: Netherlands, Poland, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Russia, USA, Norway

2013 World Championship top 8: Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Germany, Russia, Norway, Japan, Canada

2010 Olympic medalists: Germany, Japan, Poland (USA finished fourth after upsetting top seed Canada in quarterfinals)




Jamie Gregg (Canada): Third place in each of the two 2013-14 500s in Calgary. Didn’t race in last two stops.

Joji Kato (Japan): 500 specialist: 2005 world champion, two world runner-up finishes, 2010 bronze medal, best of 34.21. 1,000 best: 1:08.68.

Tae-Bum Mo (South Korea): Maybe a surprise in 2010, but not any more. Great at 500: 2010 Olympic champion, back-to-back world champion in 2012 and 13, 2012 World Cup champion, best of 34.28. Contender at 1,000: 2010 Olympic silver, second in 2013 worlds, best of 1:07.26 back in 2009). Could even race at 1,500: best of 1:42.85, also in 2009.

Michel Mulder (Netherlands): World Sprint champion in 2013. At 500: Second in 2012 worlds, fourth in 2013, best of 34.26. 1,000 best: 1:07.46. Also a former inline skating world champion. Athletic heroes include snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Ronald Mulder (Netherlands): Michel’s twin brother. Good start to 2013-14 season: first in Calgary, second in Salt Lake. 500 best: 34.25. 1,000 best: 1:08.46.

Keiichiro Nagashima (Japan): Two-time Olympian; silver medalist at 500 in 2010. 500 best: 34.24.

Jan Smeekens (Netherlands): Mostly 500: third in 2011 and 2013 World Championships; best of 34.32. 1,000 best: 1:08.89.


Zbigniew Brodka (Poland): Top eight at 1,000 and 1,500 at 2013 World Championships. Several World Cup podiums at 1,500 and 2012 season title. 1,000 best: 1:07.87. 1,500 best: 1:42.89.

Shani Davis (USA): Tons of medals in long career, including back-to-back Olympic golds at 1,000 and back-to-back silvers at 1,500. Has won both the World Sprint and World Allround titles in addition to several championships at 1,000 and 1,500. 1,000 best: 1:06.42. 1,500 best: 1:41.04.

Brian Hansen (USA): Competed in 2010 Olympics at age 19, winning silver in team pursuit. At 1,000: One World Cup win, best of 1:07.03. At 1,500: fourth in 2013 worlds, best of 1:42.16.

Denis Kuzin (Kazakhstan): 2013 world championship at 1,000 is by far his best result. 500 best: 35.22. 1,000 best: 1:07.71. 1,500 best: 1:43.60.

Denny Morrison (Canada): Two Olympic medals in team pursuit: silver in 2006, gold in 2010. Two world championships at 1,500 (2008, 2012). 1,000 best: 1:07.11. 1,500 best: 1:42.01

Kjeld Nuis (Netherlands): Best at 1,000: World Cup champion in 2012, world runner-up in 2011 and 2012, then fourth in 2013. 1,000 best: 1:07.02. 1,500 best: 1:42.92.


Jorrit Bergsma (Netherlands): A couple of world championship medals. Also an accomplished marathon skater. 5,000 best: 6:06.93. 10,000 best: 12:50.33. Most importantly to American audience: He’s engaged to Heather Richardson.

Bob de Jong (Netherlands): Has all three Olympic medals at 10,000: gold in 2006, silver in 1998, bronze in 2010. 5,000 best: 6:07.43. 10,000 best: 12:48.20

Sven Kramer (Netherlands): 2010 Olympics: gold medal at 5,000, disqualified at 10,000 when coach incorrectly told him not to switch lanes. Also took 2006 Olympic silver at 5,000. His time would have been an Olympic record. Six-time world allround champion. 1,500 best: 1:43.54. 5,000 best: 6:03.32. 10,000 best: 12:41.69.

Seung-Hoon Lee (South Korea): Gold (10,000, albeit on Kramer’s DQ) and silver (5,000) at 2010 Olympics. Not bad for a former short-track skater. 5,000 best: 6:07.04. 10,000 best: 12:57.27.

Ivan Skobrev (Russia): Silver (10,000) and bronze (5,000) at 2010 Olympics. 2011 world allround champion. Third at 1,500 and 5,000 in 2013 worlds. Also at 1,500: second in 2012 worlds, best of 1:42.94. At 5,000: best of 6:08.77. At 10,000: best of 12:58.36. Nicknamed Scooby-Doo.

Denis Yuskov (Russia): Rebounded from long suspension for marijuana use early in his career. At 1,500: 2013 world champion, best of 1:42.36. At 5,000: fourth in 2013 worlds, best of 6:11.79.



Olga Fatkulina (Russia): Competed in 2010 Olympics at age 20. 2013 world champion at 1,000. 500 best: 37.13. 1,000 best: 1:13.40.

Nao Kodaira (Japan): Not many notable results but good times: 37.29 in 500, 1:13.98 in 1,000.

Sang-Hwa Lee (South Korea): Olympic 500-meter champion and back-to-back world champion won the first seven 2013-14 World Cup races, setting a World record of 36.36 along the way. No one else is within 0.49 seconds the past two years. As overwhelming a favorite as you’ll find. Fewer results at 1,000 but has a best of 1:13.66.

Heather Richardson (USA): 2013 world sprint champion. From the unlikely home of High Point, N.C. Engaged to Dutch distance skater Jorrit Bergsma. 500 best: 36.90. 1,000 best: 1:12.61. 1,500 best: 1:52.55.

Beixing Wang (China): 2009 world sprint champion and five-time World Championship runner-up at 500, where she has a best of 36.85. 1,000 best: 1:13.98.

Jenny Wolf (Germany): Four-time world champion and 2010 Olympic silver medalist at 500. Best: 37.00.


Brittany Bowe (USA): Former college basketball player and inline skating world champion broke the world record in the 1,000 in November 2013. Not an international standout in the 1,500, but she broke the U.S. record in the same weekend. Bests: 37.32 at 500, 1:12.58 at 1,000, 1:52.45 at 1,500.

Christine Nesbitt (Canada): 2010 Olympic champion at 1,000. 2011 world sprint champion. 2012 world allround runner-up. Three-time world champion at 1,000; once at 1,500. 1,000 best: 1:12.68. 1,500 best: 1:52.75 (twice).

Lotte van Beek (Netherlands): Up-and-comer took silver in 2013 worlds at 1,500. Best in 1,000: 1:13.36. 1,500 best: 1:56.11.


Katarzyna Bachleda-Curus (Poland): Has some team pursuit medals and some World Cup success at 1,500, where her best is 1:53.95. 3,000 best: 4:02.12.

Antoinette de Jong (Netherlands): Only 18. Close to contention at several distances but strongest at 3,000, with best of 3:59.49 and a World Cup podium.

Linda de Vries (Netherlands): One World Championship medal – bronze in 2012 1,500. Also fourth in 2013 allrounds. 3,000 best: 4:01.00. 5,000 best: 7:02.77.

Claudia Pechstein (Germany): Over 40 and still going, albeit after serving a two-year ban after a positive test for blood doping. That caused her to miss the 2010 Olympics. She competed in the previous four Olympics, winning five gold medals (four individual, one team pursuit). She took bronze in the 3,000 and 5,000 in the 2013 World Championships. 3,000 best: 3:57.35 (in 2006). 5,000 best: 6:46.91 (in 2002).

Martina Sablikova (Czech Republic): Gold medalist in 3,000 and 5,000 at the 2010 Olympics. Also took bronze at 1,500 in 2010. Plenty of world championships, including two allrounds. 3,000 best: 3:55.55. 5,000 best: 6:42.66.

Yuliya Skokova (Russia): Strongest by far at 1,500, with best of 1:53.87.

Ireen Wüst (Netherlands): Gold medalist in two Olympics at two distances: 3,000 in 2006; 1,500 in 2010. Also took bronze in 1,500 in 2006. Four-time world allround champion. Has world championships ranging from 1,000 to 3,000, plus a silver at 5,000. Bests: 1:13.33 at 1,000, 1:52.08 at 1,500, 3:58.01 at 3,000, 6:55.85 at 5,000.

Speedskater’s story: From food stamps to thank yous

Short-track speedskater Emily Scott was making a monthly stipend of $1,950. Then it was cut to $600. She applied for food stamps.

My former USA TODAY colleague Kelly Whiteside wrote about Scott’s plight, putting a human face on Olympic athletes’ struggles and dedication.

Then a funny thing happened. Scott was a crowdfunding site, through which she had raised $190 in two months. After Kelly’s story ran, that $190 became $15,000. (It’s now over $22,000.)

Wonderful, heartwarming story.

But the reporting doesn’t stop there. Take a quick look at the U.S. Olympic Committee’s finances and the tough choices it must make.

Monday Myriad, Feb. 18: Slalom and shoot

Headlines of the week:

– Ted Ligety won the giant slalom, his best event, for his third title at the Alpine skiing World Championships. Then 17-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin won the slalom. That’s four golds and a bronze for the USA in 10 individual events.

– Tim Burke took silver in the 20k individual event at biathlon’s World Championships, which were otherwise dominated by Norway (eight golds in 11 events — two individuals and two relays each for Tora Berger and Emil Hegle Svendsen).

– The Netherlands’ Sven Kramer won his sixth straight world allround speedskating title. Fellow Dutchperson Ireen Wust won her fourth overall, the last three in a row. Jonathan Kuck has the best U.S. finish, 13th.

– The MMA ladders are in the process of being updated after the weekend’s Bellator and UFC events, in which two bantamweight belts were defended.

A few links, tweets and videos on those stories and more:



– Feb. 20-24: Cycling (track), World Championships
– Feb. 21-March 3: Nordic skiing, World Championships
– Feb. 23: UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche (women’s bantamweight title)

Monday Myriad: Bye-bye, Beckham

Admit it. You never thought David Beckham would be here as long as he was.

When I spoke with him in 2008, a year into the “experiment,” he was saying all the right things. Then over the years, he stuck with the Galaxy but had trouble convincing fans of his commitment to the team.

But in 2011, the last year of his original contract, he once again won over the fans (and maybe teammates). Winning MLS Cup didn’t hurt. And then he signed a two-year extension.

I can imagine fans clamoring for Grant Wahl to write Part 2 of The Beckham Experiment. But at this point, is there any doubt that the experiment worked? MLS is in infinitely better shape today than it was in 2007, and while plenty of other factors are at play (Seattle, other expansion, other business deals), Beckham’s presence surely has helped.

Elsewhere in myriad sports …

MLS: Beckham’s Galaxy held off the Sounders on what Taylor Twellman insists was a legit handball call. And the Dynamo sprayed beer all over their locker room at RFK Stadium.

The waiver draft gave Real Salt Lake another Duke alum.

Premier League: Tactics man Jonathan Wilson wonders if West Brom’s decision to split their management jobs between two people instead of one All-Encompassing Man of Total Power is paving the way for a prolonged stay in the top flight.

Field hockey: Should North Carolina’s seniors be disappointed with only one title out of their four appearances in the final? Or was Princeton due?

Chess: Just call the Kosintsevas the Williams sisters of chess. Nadezhda beat Tatiana in the women’s world championship. She’s the only Russian in the quarterfinals. China has three.

Wrestling: Good showing for Greco-Roman Americans.

Figure skating: Fairfax County’s own Ashley Wagner is two-for-two on the Grand Prix circuit after her Trophee Bompard win in France, ensuring a U.S. presence at the Finals. Christina Gao has a spot in the top six in the standings, with fellow Americans Agnes Zawadzki and Mirai Nagasu among those who can knock her out this weekend. It’s a safe bet Meryl Davis and Charlie White will get there in ice dance. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin might make it in pairs.

Jeremy Abbott, second in France, is clinging to a spot in the top six of the men’s standings (note all the guys with 15, 13 and 11 points who are competing in Japan).

Speedskating: U.S. top-five finishes in the World Cup opener in Heerenveen, Netherlands:

– Heather Richardson, 1st, 1,000
– Heather Richardson, 2nd, 500 and 2nd, 500. Yes, they raced that distance twice.

That is all. Didn’t see Shani Davis in the results.

Bobsled/skeleton: Huge U.S. weekend. Steven Holcomb was first in two-man and second in four-man. And Katie Uhlaender won the women’s skeleton.

Cody Butner and Chuck Berkeley took second behind Holcomb and Steve Langton in the two-man.

The U.S. women’s bobsledders were fourth, fifth and eighth. Olympic track and fieldsters Lolo Jones and Tianna Madison had the week off.

More Olympic sports: Good results for the U.S. field hockey men and a few other athletes; see the roundup.

MMA: GSP beat up Condit, Tom Lawlor got robbed, and strikes to the back of the head are still illegal.

In Bellator, Marcin Held held a toe hold … OK, that’s awful. Anyway, Held got Rich Clementi to tap to a toe hold and Dave Jansen won a split decision over Ricardo Tirloni in the lightweight semifinals. Also, Marlon Sandro beat TUF alum Dustin Neace. Remember the fight where Akira tapped but said he didn’t? That was Neace.

Champions League tomorrow!

Monday Myriad: When figure skaters attack

The weekend in myriad sports …

Figure skating: If you like seeing Americans in fourth place, the Cup of China was the Grand Prix event for you! Mirai Nagasu, Adam Rippon and the ice dance duo of Madison Chock/Evan Bates all took fourth. Chock and Bates set a personal best with 149.54 points.

One surprise: Tatsuki Machida upset fellow Japanese skater Daisuke Takahashi.

And in warmups, this happened:


If you prefer your figure skating routines crash-free (more or less), see the rest of Universal Sports’ YouTube offerings.

Speedskating: The U.S. championships are complete, and the World Cup team will include a lot of familiar names — Shani Davis, Heather Richardson, Tucker Fredricks, Elli Ochowicz and more. Richardson won every distance at those championships.

MMA: The World Series of Fighting debut on NBC Sports Network (after an MLS playoff game) featured three quick knockouts (Andrei Arlovski, Anthony Johnson, newcomer Tyrone Spong) and one upset (Marlon Moraes over the increasingly indifferent Miguel Torres). Spong beat a guy with almost as much belly fat as I have.

Bellator also was knockout-heavy. Richard Hale advanced to the heavyweight final over winded opponent Thiago Santos, and Shahbulat Shamhalaev swarmed Mike Richman to advance to the featherweight final.

Up this week: U.S. women’s hockey in the Four Nations Cup.