Special Coverage: Day Five
(Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005)

The 2005 World Speed Skating Championships in Suzhou, China

Colombia Wins 8 Medals to Take Lead at World Championships

USA Wins Three Gold Medals; Mantia Almost Losses One

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

Colombia took over the lead at the 2005 World Speed Skating Championships today by outscoring Italy eight medals to four.

The United States also had a good day. Junior women Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe both won their third individual gold medals; and senior man Joey Mantia won his second.

No New Records

No records were broken during the day, the second of the road events in Suzhou, China.

New Zealand's Kalon Dobbin won the 500 meters in a time of 41.142 seconds -- more than a second slower than the world record of 39.466 seconds set by USA's Keith Turner in 1999.

The women's time was also off world record pace. The women's winner, Colombia's Jennifer Caicedo, posted a time of 47.349 seconds, more than two seconds slower than the record of 44.780 seconds (set by Cecilia Baena in 2000.)

Team USA

Heather Richardson, 16, of High Point, N.C., won her gold medal in the junior women's 500 meters. Her time, 46.338 seconds, was a full second faster than the women's time.

Teammate Brittany Bowe, 17, of Ocala, Fla., won the hard-fought and physical 20,000-meter elimination.

The race was characterized by lots of pushing and shoving. Alexander Bont, commenting on the Patin Carrera web site, said the race "was more like a boxing match than a skating race."

In the men's race, USA's Joey Mantia almost lost the gold by celebrating his victory too early.

The 19-year-old from Ocala, Fla., thought he had a safe lead as he approached the finish line so he stopped sprinting and raised his arms in the air.

What he didn't notice was that Colombia's Nelson Garzon was right behind him and gaining ground fast.

At the finish line, it was Mantia first by just four-hundredths of a second.

Colombia, which has dominated the women's event in the same way that the United States has dominated the junior women's event, claimed the gold in the women's 20,000-meter elimination. But not before some high drama.

A Hard Fall

At the end of the race, with five women left in contention, Taipei's Pan Li Ling lead out the sprint with 200 meters to go.

She looked likely to give Taipei its fourth medal. But with the finish line in sight, she fell.

She quickly got back on her feet and started skating. But by then it was too late.

Colombia's Brigyte Mendez finished first with teammate Alexandra Vivas second and Nathalie Barbotin of France third.

Ling crossed the finish line fifth and then collapsed onto the track. She was taken off the track on a stretcher.

Racing continues tomorrow in Suzhou with the 10,000-meter relays.

Medal tally:
Here's the metal count after five days of racing.)

Event Preview:
Speed Skaters Converge for Smaller World Championships

It's got a new name. And it's smaller than last year. But World Speed Skating Championships promise to be just as exciting as ever with the top inline racers in the world -- including USA's Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia -- competing for gold, silver and bronze on track and road. (Here's the Planet Preview of the 2005 World Speed Skating Championships!) (Aug. 25, 2005)


Related Reading

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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