14 February 2015 – Heerenveen, THE NETHERLANDS
Shani Davis won another 1000m World Championship in a race for the ages.
Thrilling an appreciative Dutch crowd and upending the season status quo, Shani skated 1:08.57 to edge a trio of rivals by the narrowest of margins: Russian upstart Pavel Kulizhnikov (1:08.61), Duch favorite Kjeld Nuis (1:08.71) and Canadian Denny Morrison (1:08.72).
Davis also vanquished his pair, Stefan Groothuis (1:09.13), the man who unseated him as Olympic 1000m Champion in Sochi last season.
Though he may have entered the competition as the sentimental favorite – and the winningest 1000m man ever – few at the Thialf oval gave Davis a chance to win this particular title. For starters, Shani hadn’t been on the international 1000m podium all season long, going 0-for-6. Add the season-long dominance of Kulizhnikov and Nuis, who together won five of six races, and it was no wonder he “would have settled for a podium,” in his own words.
But it was Shani’s faith in himself that made all the difference. Despite going medal-less in the 1000m World Cup – never within even a half-second of first – he continued to believe he was close.
“Everyone was counting me out but I didn’t give up on myself,” said an emotional Davis after the race.
As in all of his signature wins, the middle-distance king won in the final 400m, posting the fastest closing lap of the field (26.4). But it was a blistering (by Shani-standards) 25.2 opening 400m that set up the golden finish.
The victory marked Shani’s fourth 1000m World title to go along with wins in 2007, 2008, and 2011.
“Never been happier,” said the two-time 1000m Olympic Champion.
Davis has now won 10 individual ISU World Championship titles, including three at 1500m to go along with both the World Sprints (2009) and World Allrounds (2005 & 2006).
Davis concludes the season at the World Cup Final in Germany March 21-22. He remains within sight of the Overall WC 1500m podium and is one win shy of becoming the all-time winner at the distance.
[Photo credit: Martin de Jong | Check the Photo Gallery 2015 for more photos]