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Brittany Bowe

Brittany Bowe on the track Monday.

photo: Bont Skates

Brittany Bowe Sets 2nd World Record
Joey Mantia struggles with flu

By Robert Burnson
Sept. 5, 2008

Some days being the fastest in the world just isn't enough.

Such was the case today for USA's Brittany Bowe who set a world record in the 500-meter track sprint in Gijon only to end up with the bronze.

Bowe, 20, of Ocala, FL, smashed the record in a preliminary heat of the 500 meters. But in the finals, she was passed before the final turn, lost momentum and finished third.

Her time in the prelims — 43.463 seconds — sliced nearly a second off the old record of 44.404, set by Italy's Simona de Cesaris in 1987.

But medals aren't decided in the prelims, and in the finals, things didn't work out so well for Bowe.

After two false starts, she shot to the front of the four-woman field and held the lead for the first two laps on the 200-meter track.

But 100 meters from the finish, Colombia's Jercy Puella passed her as did U.S. teammate Sara Sayasane, and she appeared to be boxed in.

"She felt like she lost a little momentum when Jercy went by her," her mother, Debbie Bowe, said. "She felt like they clicked a little."

Puella held on for the gold. Her time was 43.891 seconds, four-tenths of a second slower than Bowe's new world record. Sayasane took the silver.

"We really wanted first and second, but we were happy to get the silver and the bronze," said Debbie Bowe, who is a U.S. team manager.

Bowe and Sayasane were the only U.S. skaters to earn medals today. On Thursday, the first day of the World Championships, Bowe won the 300-meter gold while Sayasane got the silver. (Puello took the bronze.)

Mantia Fights Flu

Defending all-around world champion Joey Mantia, fighting the flu, once again struggled today.

The 22-year-old from Olympia, WA, competed in the 500 meters, in which he was the defending champion. But he was unable to reach the finals and looked spent as he finished last in his quarter-final heat.

"We're battling the flu," Debbie Bowe said of the U.S. team. "And Joey ended up with it today. ... It's not what he wanted to happen. But it is what it is, and his attitude is healthy even if his body isn't."

Michael Cheek has also struggled with the flu this week.

Bowe said Mantia was doing better Friday night and "I think he is going to be fine for tomorrow."

He may be called on to skate a leg of the men's relay Saturday night, she said.

As for Brittany Bowe, she has a chance of setting a third world record in Saturday's 1000 meters, in which she is one of the favorites.

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