20 October 2012 – Salt Lake City, USA 

The countdown is underway to the start of the international racing season and all-world speedskater Shani Davis is ready.

With under 500 days remaining before the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Shani is on target to contend for an unprecedented third-straight Olympic gold medal.

Even before the launch of the 2012-13 ISU World Cup, this month Davis already established a new mark for middle-distance excellence, claiming another top spot in the Dutch “Adelskalendar”, speedskating’s hallowed record book that ranks the personal best (PB) times of every athlete in the sport’s history.

The two-time Olympic Champion opened his pre-2012-13 campaign in Salt Lake City on 8 October with a personal best at 3000 meters (3:46.25) , good enough to climb atop the “Mini-Vierkamp” list – PBs over 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m – to eclipse the decade-old mark established by Dutch great Erban Wennemars.

Shani continues to be the all-time leader of the Adelskalendar’s most prestigious ranking: combined PBs at 500m, 1500m, 5,000m and 10,000m. King Davis rose to the top spot nearly three years ago after establishing world records at 1500m (1:41.04). Shani also continues to own the 1000m World Record (1:06.42).

The 2012-13 racing season will take the world’s top speedskaters to all of the familiar places – The Netherlands; Norway; Germany, Japan, Salt Lake City – but it is the last event on the ISU calendar that has Shani’s full attention: The 2013 World Single Distance Championships, which will be contested 21-24 March at the new Olympic oval in Sochi.

This season Shani looks to build on his national-best 51 World Cup wins – second all-time among men – and extend to 10 his streak of consecutive years with at least one World title. 

In addition to those gaudy World Records, Shani’s hall-of-fame resume includes:

  • Olympic Champion, 1000m (2006, 2010)
  • World Allround Champion (2005, 2006)
  • World Sprint Champion (2009)
  • World Champion, 1000m (2007, 2008, 2011)
  • World Champion, 1500m (2004, 2007, 2009)
  • World Cup Champion, 1000m (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012)
  • World Cup Champion, 1500m (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)

Shani’s first major contest this season is the 2012 U.S. Single Distance Championships, held in Milwaukee, USA 2-4 November, where he looks to defend his national titles at 1000m and 1500m.

(photo credit: Michaela Rehle / Reuters)