Wolf finally grabs gold
World champion Jenny Wolf finally got her hands on ISU Speed Skating World Cup gold at the fourth time of asking in Kazakhstan – however it was almost too close to call.
The 32-year-old grabbed seventh and a bronze in the 500m at the opening World Cup leg in Russia last week and took silver in the same event on day one in Astana.
And Wolf, who won the world 500m title for the fourth time in March, continued her progression in the second of two races in Eastern Europe collecting gold in 37.98seconds.
It was far from plain sailing though with the Friday’s 500m winner Sang-Hwa Lee clocking the exact same time only to be bumped down to silver with Nao Kodaira taking bronze.
Meanwhile in the ladies 1500m Olympic 1000m champion Christine Nesbitt too made the jump from second to first – taking gold in 1:56.10minutes having won silver last week.
Claudia Pechstein, who took 3000m silver on Friday, was nearly half a second away in second again in 1:56.77 while two-time Olympic champion Ireen Wust took bronze.
And in an almost exact repeat of the women’s 500m, Jan Smeekens topped the podium at the expense of Tae-Bum Mo in the men’s equivalent but the narrowest of margins.
World bronze medallist Smeekens crossed in a time of 35.05 with Mo, who took gold in the first of two 500m races on Friday, just one hundredth of a second behind for silver.
American Tucker Fredricks dropped down from silver in race one to bronze while in the men’s 5000m Alexis Contin took gold ahead of Havard Bokko and Jan Blokhuijsen.