Speedskater Brittany Bowe added another international victory to her resume just two weeks after setting a world record.
The 25-year-old Florida native who lives in West Jordan won the women's 1,500 meters for the first time Saturday, the second day of a three-day World Cup meet in Astana, Kazakhstan. Teammate and two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis won the men's 1,000 meters, a day after U.S. Speedskating failed to reach the podium.
"It's been a tough weekend," Bowe said, "but I'm happy that I was able to pull off the win. ... At this point, it's important that we stay focused and stick to the plan in order to achieve our long-term goals for the season."
The races in Kazakhstan are much closer to sea level than the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, where Bowe set the world record in the 1,000 meters two weeks ago, and provide a close simulation of the conditions the Americans will face at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia in February.
Bowe clocked 1 minute, 57.28 seconds to beat Russia's Yuliya Skokova by a whopping 0.42 seconds. Davis finished in 1:08.66 for his third straight win at 1,000 meters, topping Italy's Mirko Giacomo Nenzi by 0.24 of a second and putting himself on track to win an unprecedented sixth straight overall World Cup title at that distance.
Bobsled driver Steven Holcomb made it a clean sweep of the season-opening World Cup races in Calgary, driving his new Night Train 2 four-man sled to victory in its international debut.
The victory, one day after Holcomb won the two-man race in a new BMW sled, suggests the reigning Olympic champion from Park City remains a top gold-medal contender for the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia despite a disappointing finish to last season.
His team of Curt Tomasevicz, Steve Langton and Alpine's Chris Fogt pushed Holcomb to a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 48.56 seconds to beat Germany's Maximilian Arndt and Russia's AlexÂandr Zubkov, who finished in a tie, 0.09 of a second behind.
It was the first time in seven years that a driver has swept the opening two-man and four-man races.
"It's been a fantastic weekend," Holcomb said. "It's Olympic year, and this is when it counts. Walking away from the season opener with two gold medals feels really good. My team has been chomping at the bit to compete, and they did what they needed to do to keep us ahead.
"The other teams are here to win, just like we are, and they aren't going to go down easily. We need to be on our game, and I think we did that."
Michael C. Lewis
Beaver Creek, Colo. • Lara Gut of Switzerland won a second straight World Cup race, edging a strong Austrian contingent.
Gut turned in another blazing run on the new Beaver Creek course, finishing in 1 minute, 18.42 seconds.
It was another rough day for the Americans, with Leanne Smith turning in the best finish at 23rd.
Lake Louise, Alberta • Dominik Paris of Italy won the season-opening World Cup event.
Klaus Kroell of Austria finished second and Adrien Theaux of France was third.
Erik Guay of Canada finished eighth. He finished 1.08 seconds back of Paris, whose World Cup victory was the third of his career but first in Lake Louise.
The men race a super-G on Sunday before heading to Beaver Creek, Colo., and the second stop on the circuit this season.