U.S. sets world record, Dutch sweep at World Cup speedskating

A visitor to the Shougang Park walks past the a sculpture for the Beijing Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. China on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, threatened to take "firm countermeasures" if the U.S. proceeds with a diplomatic boycott of February's Beijing Winter Olympic Games. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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AP Sports Writer

KEARNS, Utah (AP) — The United States set a world record in winning the men’s team pursuit and the Netherlands swept the men’s 1,000 meters for the third straight speedskating World Cup on Sunday.

The U.S. team of Joey Mantia, Emery Lehman and Casey Dawson won in 3 minutes, 34.47 seconds on the high-altitude ice at the Utah Olympic Oval, bettering the old mark of 3:34.68 set by the Netherlands in February 2020 on the same ice at the world single-distance championships.

The U.S. team on Sunday also lowered the American record of 3:37.22 by Shani Davis, Brian Hansen and Jonathan Kuck set in November 2013 at the Utah oval.

“It’s nice to beat Shani, Jonathan and Brian’s national record. Pretty incredible skaters in their time,” Lehman said. “To go three seconds faster than they did, it says a lot.”

The Americans let Mantia lead all eight laps, with his teammates pushing him from start to finish. The result was a world record and a tired Mantia. The 35-year-old from Ocala, Florida, collapsed afterward on his back, his chest heaving.

“He’s really the leader,” Dawson said of Mantia. “Us two, we’re the engines in the back pushing him. That’s how we think about it. We’re just like a train going around the track.”

It’s a strategy the U.S. men have been employing for a couple years, although Mantia rarely practices with Lehman and Dawson.

“They just do a great job practicing the pushing and obviously it shows out there,” Mantia said. “I focus on being strong for eight laps in the front. I don’t always have to skate with them to make that happen.”

Norway finished 1.92 seconds behind at 3:36.40. Italy was third.

Thomas Krol led a 1-2-3 sweep by the Dutch in the 1,000 meters, winning in 1:06.44. Defending Olympic champion Kjeld Nuis took silver at 1:06.86. Hein Otterspeer earned bronze at 1:06.95.

“I gave this one away,” Nuis said. “The first 200 were a bit too aggressive.”

The Dutch also swept the event at the season-opening World Cup in Poland and again two weeks ago in Norway.

Japan earned victories in the men’s 500 and women’s 1,500 on the final day.

Wataru Morishige won the second 500 in 33.99 seconds. Artem Arefyer of Russia took silver in 34.00. Laurent Dubreuil of Canada earned bronze at 34.053.

Miho Takagi won the 1,500 in 1:49.99 to go with her victory in the 1,000 a day earlier. Her teammate, Ayano Sato, finished second at 1:51.468.

Antoinette de Jong of the Netherlands was third at 1:51.72. American Brittany Bowe finished eighth.

Ivanie Blondin of Canada won the women’s mass start in 8:31.87. Marijke Groenewoud of the Netherlands was second at 8:31.88. Sofie Haugen of Norway finished third.