Brittany Bowe (front) and Sara Sayasane carry the American flag around the track after finishing first and second in the 300-meter time trial.
photo: Bont Skates
USA's Brittany Bowe won the 300 meters at the World Speed Skating Championships today, proving once again that she possesses the rare kind of talent that can excel in two sports.
Bowe, who plays basketball in the off-season, won the time trial event in 26.610 seconds. Her time cut more than two tenths of a second off the old mark 26.986, set by Italian Simona de Cesaris in 1987.
"She was so happy," said Bowe's mother, Debbie, one of the U.S. team managers. "She wasn't even sure she was going to do Worlds this year because of her school commitments and basketball."
Brittany Bowe decided last spring not to try out for the U.S. team but changed her mind — at the last minute — after finishing second in the Incheon World Inline Cup in South Korea. By that time, the U.S. qualifying meet was already half over.
"She called me from Korea and said she wanted to try to make the team," Debbie Bowe said. "I told her that she was already five races down. But she said, 'Mom, I know if come back I can make the team.' "
She caught the next flight for Colorado Springs, the site of Outdoor Nationals, and proceeded to win all four of the road events, which earned her a spot on the U.S. team.
Today, the first day of the 2008 World Championships in Gijon, Spain, she broke the 300-meter record twice; first in the morning when she posted the fastest time (26.793) in the qualifying rounds.
USA's Sara Sayasane, 22, of Milpitis, CA, briefly took the world record away from Bowe when she skated 26.670 in the 300-meter finals.
But Bowe, the last skater in the time-trial event, beat Sayasane's time by 6 hundredths of a second to take the gold.
Finishing third was Colombia's Jercy Puello (26.706).
Last year at the World Championships, Bowe finished sixth in the 300 meters with a time of 27.125.
Silencing the Doubters
The 20-year-old from Ocala, FL, emerged in 2005 as one of the top up-and-coming female skaters when she won nine medals, including four golds, in the junior division of the 2005 World Championships.
But doubts about her future in skating emerged when she accepted a scholarship to play basketball at Florida Atlantic University.
However, despite her fierce commitment to basketball, Bowe continues to excel in skating.
"She has great support from the staff at Florida Atlantic," Debbie Bowe said. "Her coach supports what she wants to do in skating and the tough basketball workouts are great for her aerobic conditioning."
USA's Joey Mantia had a disappointing day, finishing seventh in the 300 meter time trial with a time of 25.199 seconds.
He won the event last year in Cali with a time of 24.756.
New Zealand's Kalon Dobbin won the event today with a time of 24.739. Last year, Dobbin had to pull out of the event after suffering a groin injury.
Both Mantia and Bowe are scheduled to skate Friday in the 500 meters. Harry Vogel will also skate the 500 meters, marking his return to the World Championships after a long absence.
Copyright © 2008 by Inline Planet