10 March 2013 – Heerenveen, THE NETHERLANDS
For the second straight week Shani Davis missed the 1000m podium but improved his standing in the Overall World Cup.
Needing to win the World Cup Final to claim a record 6th Overall 1000m WC title, Shani finished fourth at Thialf, but that result that was enough for him to advance from third to second in the final 2013 World Cup 1000m standings.
Davis’ time of 1:09.249 was edged off the podium by less than one one-hundredth of a second by Dutchman Kjeld Nuis (1:09.240), who also won the Overall 1000m title.
Said the two-time 1000m Olympic Champion, “My preference is always to be on the top of the podium, but the silver lining is that I’m still making progress from where I was [last weekend]. Hopefully, I can carry that progress to Sochi.”
The 1000m was the most closely contested distance on the World Cup circuit this season with 7 different winners in 9 races. After missing the opening WC 1000m due to a groin injury and then being hobbled off the start line for several weeks, Shani rebounded to become one of two skaters to win twice at 1000m, earning gold in China last December and then again in Calgary in January.
The most accomplished 1000m skater in World Cup history now has two World Cup Overall 1000m runner-up finishes (2011, 2013) to go along with his five titles (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) and one third place finish (2007). With 36 WC victories, Davis is the runaway all-time 1000m win leader – Russian Igor Zhelezovsky had 24 from 1986-1994 – and Shani holds the current 1000m world record of 1:06.42, which he established over four years ago at a World Cup in Salt Lake City.
Shani’s 53 total career WC victories remain second all-time and first among U.S. men. Earlier this season he also became only the third man to surpass 10,000 career World Cup points.
On Sunday Shani picked up a bronze medal at the season’s final 1500m, a race won by former inline speedskating world champion Bart Swings of Belgium. It was a strong enough performance to move Shani from 9th to 5th in the Overall 1500m standings.
Shani won his 17th career World Cup 1500m race earlier this year in Kazakhstan but the two-time Olympic Silver Medalist and three-time 1500m World Champion will have to wait until next season to equal the all-time 1500m World Cup mark of 18 wins.
Shani’s season concludes 21-25 March at the World Single Distance Championships in Sochi, Russia, on the 2014 Olympic track.
[Photo credit: Getty Images]