Havard Lorentzen becomes World Sprint Champion - News


World Championships Sprint Changchung

One week after the Olympic Games in PyeongChang the best sprinters in the world were already battling for the world title. They raced hard on the icerink in Chinese Changchung, but the tiredness was great.

Lorentzen writes Norwegian skating history
Havard Holmefjord Lorentzen is the new hero of Norway. First the 25-year old speed skater won a gold medal on the 500 meters in the Olympics, and then crowned himself world champion sprint in Changchung. This makes him the first Norwegian to get this title since Frode Ronning, who won the championship in 1981.

For Lorentzen the 500 meters formed the foundation of his world title. He won this distance twice. He finished his first 500 meters in 34,98. Not only was that good enough to win, it was also a new track record. On top of that, he immediately got ahead of his big competitors. On his second 500 meters he raced towards a time of 34,96, and with that he defeated his rivals Kjeld Nuis and Kaj Verbij.

Necessary, because on the 1000 meters Lorentzen fell a little bit behind. He finished his first 1000 meters in 1.09,21, which got him a second place behind Nuis, who finished more than two tenths faster in 1.08,97. On the final 1000 meters Lorentzen already knew he could lose a little time, to win the world title. The Norwegian didn't exceed the time difference and finished in 1.09,81. That time was good enough for him to finally take over the legacy of Ronning after 37 years.

Fourth place for Nico Ihle
Nico Ihle skated incredibly steady in Changchung, but he just missed the podium. The 32-year old German's strength is mainly on the 1000 meters, which he used to get a high position in the ranking.

In his races over 1000 meters Ihle ended up seventh and second. He first finished in 1.09,73, in a race that wasn't without mistakes. In his second race he stayed close behind untouchable Olympic champion Kjeld Nuis. With 1.09,29 Ihle won from all the other competitors.

The German was little less satisfied with his 500 meter races. On the first day he finished in 35,04. Which is not bad, but the differences were incredibly small. With only fifteen hundredths behind the winner Lorentzen, Ihle ended up ninth. He finished his second 500 meters a bit slower, in 35,11. Nevertheless was that good enough for a seventh place. Overall Nico Ihle ended up at fourth place.

Strong Mika poutala very steady
Mika Poutala was already popular in the Netherlands, but since the Olympics that popularity has grown. The 34-year old Finn grew to be a symbol of sportsmanship by not crossing before Kjeld Nuis in the Olympic 1000 meters. ,,That could've been a risk for Kjeld Nuis and I didn't want that. I treat people the way I want to be treated", says Poutala.

That is with no doubt going to give him a huge ovation the next time he will be in Thialf, but during the World Championships Sprint it didn't help him. But the Finn was very steady. With three fifth places and a sixth place, it got him a fifth place in the overall ranking. Poutala opened his first 500 meters in 35,00, which got him a fifth place. Followed by a sixth place on the 1000 meters which he finished in 1.09.82. The Finn, having a particularly strong season, continued on the second day with 35,10 on the 500 meters. He finished the tournament with a time of 1.09,87 on the 1000 meters; both good enough for a fifth place.

Michalski a pleasant surprise
A pleasant surprise during the tournament in Changchung was the young Polishman Piotr Michalski. The 23-year old talent from Sanok took part in the World Championships for the fourth time and skated his best race ever in China. Before, he never ranked higher than an eighth place and in 2015 and 2017 he finished eighteenth and fifteenth.

Michalski opened the tournament with 35,03 on the 500 meters, good for a seventh place. He continued doing well with 1.10,03 on the 1000 meters, which was good for an eighth place. It stayed about the same on the final day, which Mickalski opened with 35,15 on the 500 meters. With that he ended up ninth. On the 1000 meters he wasn't able to improve himself. His 1.10,07 was good for a seventh place, which got him a seventh place in the final ranking.

Hege Bokko grabs fifth place
Hege Bokko was not able to equal the stunt of her compatriot in Changchung. The 26-year old skater from Honefoss had to be satisfied with the fifth place. Which was really all she could get out of it, because in the women's tournament the differences were incredibly big. The time between her and Marrit Leenstra, who ended up fourth, was half a second.

Bokko lost her seconds on the 500 meters. On the first day she finished with 38,60, which was good for a tenth place. On the second day she was one tenth faster (38,50) and ended up one place higher in the ranking.

On the 1000 meters, Bokko got some time back. She finished her first 1000 meters in 1.16,24, which got her a fifth place. Her second race was a little less good, but with 1.16,38 she ended up in a fourth place. In the final ranking this meant a fifth place for the Norwegian. 

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