(16-year-old phenom Emery Lehman)
Big Deal #1: Heather Richardson. Today the ISU Long Track Speedskating World Cup season started off in the Netherlands, and Heather Richardson from High Point, NC brought back the first medal of the year for the US.
Richardson won silver today in the women’s 500m (37.95), one tenth of a second behind the winner, Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee (37.85).
This is a big deal for a number of reasons, the first being it shows that Richardson’s incredible performance two weeks ago, where she won every distance in the US Championships, was just the beginning. The second reason it is a big deal is because while Richardson’s 500m has always been strong, it’s not been her best distance – so we will potentially get to see many more podiums out of the 23-year-old.
Big Deal #2: 16-year-old Emery Lehman. We’re sure that although today’s 6:38.94, 15th place finish in the men’s 5k was not quite what the Oak Park River Forest High School student was hoping for, Lehman is sixteen years old.
Today was his first ever World Cup event and he kicked off his career at the highest level being paired against seven-time world championships gold medalist Bob de Jong of the Netherlands. Overall we’d say this was not a bad inauguration. By the way, he also set a ‘Junior B’ track record at the Thialf rink – making him the fastest 16-year-old to ever skate the distance at the most storied skating arena in the Netherlands.
Big Deal (for the Dutch) #3: Sven Kramer wins again. Annnnd the Dutch sweep the podium in the men’s 5km… again.
Big Deal #4: We hear that Olympic Gold Medalist Shani Davis is out for the weekend with a groin injury. The 30-year-old was set to compete in his signature races, the 1000m and 1500m. We’ll update as news comes along.
For full results from the weekend, check out the ISU results site.
Tomorrow is a huge day with men’s and women’s 500m, men’s 1000m, women’s 1500m, men’s team pursuit, and women’s mass start. Follow us on Facebook where we’ll post the link to watch.