LAKE PLACID, NY — American William Gebauer set a track record in the men’s 500 meters and Team Poland set a mark in the men’s team pursuit at the FISU World University Speed Skating Championship on Friday.
With temperatures in the single digits and a wind-chill well below zero, Gebauer, a native of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, topped the 17-skater field in a time of 36.74 seconds. Silver medalist Kota Mitsui of Japan finished in 36.80 and American Conor McDermott-Mostowy claimed the bronze in 36.84.
After three days of racing, athletes have combined to break six track records on the outdoor 400-meter James C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval where Eric Heiden won five gold medals in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
« The times that were skated here 40-plus years ago by Eric Heiden were insanely fast and they still are crazy fast, but I feel like with the level of international competition here, a track record is pretty much a must for a win, » Gebauer said.
« In a sprint, you go as fast as you can, you can’t control anything else, » added McDermott-Mostowy, of Washington, DC « You always want gold, but I’m more than happy to settle for bronze. »
Netherlands skaters finished first and second in the women’s 500, with Ju-Lin De Visser taking gold in 41.22 and Henny De Vries was second in 41.48. Germany’s Lea-Sophie Scholz took the bronze in 41.64.
Poland came into the sixth FISU World University Championship Speed Skating event with a nation-leading 52 medals but had come away empty after the first two days in Lake Placid. That changed Friday with the two golds in the team pursuit.
« We’ve been waiting to win medals and today we broke through with two, » said Dawid Burzykowski, who helped lead the Polish men to a winning time of 4 minutes, 13.56 seconds. « We are happy to have two medals and we hope tomorrow we will have more. »
Burzykowski, along with teammates Szymon Palka and Piotr Nalecki, finished more than two seconds ahead of the Norwegian silver medalists, who skated to an eight-lap time of 4:15.76. Netherlands took bronze in 4:19.61.
Maja Plonczyk, Iga Wojtasik and Natalia Jabrzyk combined for the women’s team pursuit gold medal in 3:25.36. The Netherlands was second in 3:31.75, while Team USA took the bronze as Ilsa Shobe, of Roseville, Minnesota, Anna Quinn of St. Louis, and Thalia Staehle of Seattle pushed each other to a six-lap finish of 3:41.47.
The competition ends Saturday.