11 March 2012 – Berlin, GERMANY
In a thrilling conclusion to the World Cup season, Shani Davis won the 1000m WC Final and overcame a deficit in the season points standings to claim his career 5th Overall World Cup title at the distance.
It was also Shani’s career 50th individual World Cup win, making him only the second man to reach the milestone.
Racing in the final pair against Overall WC leader Stefan Groothuis, Shani held off the Dutchman in the final 100 meters to win in 1:09.24. The season’s top-two 1000m skaters raced even through 900m before Shani prevailed from the last outer lane, as he has done so many time before.
The victory added 150 World Cup points to Shani’s season total (600) to surpass Groothuis (580), who needed to finish 2nd to maintain the Overall 1000m lead but who finished fourth on the day and second overall.
It was Shani’s record-tying fifth Overall World Cup 1000 crown (2006, 2008-10, 2012) to go along with four 1500m titles (2008-2011), keeping alive his five-year streak of winning at least one World Cup Overall title.
Davis’ 50th individual World Cup victory was also No. 34 at 1000m, best ever.
For the nine-time World Cup Champion it was a topsy-turvy ending to a roller-coaster World Cup season.
After an uncharacteristically slow start to the international racing season last fall, when he missed the podium in five of six WC starts, Shani rebounded to win five straight middle-distance World Cup races heading into the WC Final. He came to Berlin with a solid lead in the Overall 1500m standings but missed the podium and saw Norwegian Havard Bokko win the race to claim the Overall title, ending his run of consecutive 1500m World Cup titles. Then with maximum pressure on, Shani dug deep to turn the tables on the 1000m Overall standings. It was a gratifying win for one of speedskating’s great champions.
Shani now prepares for the World Single Distances Championships, where the six-time World Champion looks to defend his 1000m title and reclaim the 1500m title that he last won in 2009. The Championships will be held in Heerenveen, The Netherlands, March 22-25.
[photo credit: Martin de Jong]