Speedskater Joey Mantia surprised a World Cup meet in Germany on Friday by winning the 1,500 meters for his first medal at an international race.
The former inline skater had raced only one previous "A" division race this season and finished last in the season-opening 1,500 in Calgary. But after strong performances in the "B" division last weekend in Kazakhstan, the 27-year-old from Florida roared to victory in Berlin in 1 minute, 45.80 seconds, beating Poland’s Zbigniew Brodka by 0.03 seconds.
"For the first time since I switched over from inlines, I felt like I was in good control of my skates and able to execute a solid race plan exactly how I anticipated," Mantia said.
Two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis was eighth in 1:46.74, a week after a fifth-place finish at a distance at which he holds the world record.
West Jordan’s Heather Richardson finished fourth in the first of two 500-meter races that will be contested over the weekend, clocking 37.801 seconds — just 0.011 seconds out of third and 0.001 seconds ahead of the fifth-place finisher.
"I felt really good," she said. "I was really happy to have a fast start but lost speed on my last 100. ... Skating at a lower elevation, I am definitely having to work harder for the speed, but it is good preparation" for the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.
The Berlin meet is the final World Cup event before the Olympics begin Feb. 7.
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