Special Coverage: Day Four
World Records Fall on First Day of Road Racing in Suzhou, China
USA's Brittany Bowe Wins a Second Individual Gold
Italian skaters set world records today in the men's and women's 200-meter sprint as the road events began at the 2005 World Speed Skating Championships in Suzhou, China.
Italy and Colombia dominated the fourth day of racing, each winning six medals a piece.
But South Korea and the United States also had reason for cheer. South Korea won its first gold medal of the championships (in the junior men's 10,000-meter points race), and U.S. junior woman Brittany Bowe won her third gold.
First World Record for Big Wheels?
Today's world records will no doubt become part of the debate over the efficacy of the new larger (90, 100 and 110 mm) wheels.
Italy's Gregorio Duggento appeared to be using 100-mm wheels today when, as the final man to race in the 200-meter time trial, he shaved nearly three-tenths of a second off the world record.
His time was 16.450 seconds. The old record, which he set two years ago in Italy, was 16.739.
In the women's 200 meters, Italy's Maria Laura Orru shaved more than a second off the women's world record.
Her time was 18.331 seconds. The old mark was 19.682.
However, there are no reports yet on what size wheels she used in her time trial.
If she and Duggento were skating on the new larger wheels, the new records would be the first for the so-called Big Wheels.
No world records were set at last year's World Championships in Italy, although a number of racers were skating on 90- or 100-mm wheels.
This year, the larger wheels appear to be commonplace at the World Championships.
However, they weren't much help last week in the track events, in which the racers posted generally sluggish times, probably as a result of the flat and sticky surface.
Brittany Bowe won her third gold medal of the championships in the 200-meter time trial. Her time of 18.850 seconds would have placed her fifth in the women's division.
Bowe has emerged as the top junior woman skater in the world. So far at the championships, the 17-year-old from Ocala, Fla., has won five medals, including two individual golds and one gold in a relay event.
No other Team USA member managed to make it to the podium on Tuesday, although junior woman Heather Richardson came close, finishing fifth in the 200 meters with a time of 19.296 seconds.
Other top U.S. finishers for the day were:
Racing continues tomorrow in Suzhou with the 500-meter sprint and 20,000-meter elimination.
Take a look at who's ahead in the medal count
Day 1 at Suzhou
Day 2 at Suzhou
Day 3 at Suzhou
Day 4 at Suzhou
Day 5 at Suzhou
Day 6 at Suzhou
Day 7 at Suzhou
Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson
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