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Speedskater Shani Davis: two days, two world records

March 7, 2009 |  1:59 pm



That's the athletic essence of Chicago speedskater Shani Davis.

So the Olympic champion wasted no time in taking advantage of what is considered the fastest ice in the world, at the 2002 Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City.

In less than 24 hours at the World Cup final, Davis set world records in two long-track events.

This afternoon, he covered 1,000 meters in 1 minute, 06.42 seconds, breaking the mark of 1:06.88 set by teammate Trevor Marsicano earlier in the competition. Finland's Pekka Koskela had set the previous record, 1:07, on the same rink Nov. 10, 2007.

Friday, Davis won the 1,500 in 1:41.80, lowering the record of 1:42.01 set by Canada's Denny Morrison at Calgary last March.

"I'm speechless at this point,'' said U.S. head sprint coach Ryan Shimabukuro.  Davis "needed a really perfect race like yesterday,  and he executed flawlessly. He made perfect splits and just crushed the world record."

Davis also won the 2008-09 World Cup season titles at both distances. He now has set six world records at the two distances -- two in the 1,000, four in the 1,500 -- during his career, but never before two in the same competition.

"It really hurt my feelings last year when I lost the [1,000] world record,'' Davis said today. "But now my name's back on the board so every time I come back here, I can look up and see my name again.''

Davis and Marsicano finished 1-2 in both the 1,000 and 1,500, giving a boost to U.S. speedskating 11 months before the 2010 Olympics.  They both are expected to compete at next week's World Single Distance Championships, the test event for the 2010 rink in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond.

Davis, the 2009 world sprints champion, also placed eighth in Friday's 500 with a personal best time of 34.78.

"Sometimes you’re lucky and everything falls in place,''  Davis said after Friday's world record. "It’s a roll of the dice, and I was able to roll a seven when I needed to.''       

-- Philip Hersh

Photo: Shani Davis greets the crowd today in Salt Lake City, where he set a second world record in the World Cup final. Credit: Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press