Home University Sports Shinno puts an exclamation mark on Japan’s dominance within the long track

Shinno puts an exclamation mark on Japan’s dominance within the long track

Shinno puts an exclamation mark on Japan's dominance in the long track

January 20, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games

Shinno puts an exclamation mark on Japan’s dominance in the long track

The long track speed skating competition concluded on Friday at Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games with the women’s and men’s mass races won by Japan’s Misaki Shinno and Canada’s David La Rue, respectively.

Twenty-four athletes, followed by 25 men, took to the ice at the same time in a 16-lap race with a total length of 6,400 meters.

Fourth, eighth, 12p and the final laps are known as “sprints”, where the skaters reach the finish line as quickly as possible, earning ranking points for those not finishing on the podium.

Natalia Jabrzyk from Poland dominated the early stages of the women’s race against Zuzana Kuršová from the Czech Republic. In the third sprint, Rose-Anne Grenier of Canada jumped from 13th to 13thp to the fifth.

At this point, it looked like Grenier would likely go home with gold, but eventual winner Shinno had his own jump with 11p in the third sprint, only to get past Grenier at the end.

“Mass races are very dangerous because of the contact and joint position, so we were careful with our pace,” Shinno said about her strategy. “It was also important to work with my teammate (Yuka Takahashi).”

In the men’s race, the first leader was Pole Karol Karczewski, who won the opening sprint. Italy’s Daniele di Steffano, who won silver in the 5000m earlier this week, maintained a solid second or third place in the group while his teammate Riccardo Lorello led. La Rue passed after the final sprint while his teammate and eventual bronze medalist Hubert Marcotte did so a lap later.

“At the end of the race, I didn’t know,” LaRue remarked. “I knew it was close, but I didn’t quite know, and when I crossed the line I was just overwhelmed with luck for my race. But then Hubert came to congratulate me and said he was third and I was like, “Let’s go!”

Also on the women’s podium, in third place, was Josephine Heimerl, who won silver at last year’s FISU World University Championships in Lake Placid Oval.

“I have really good memories of second place in this race in 2022 here in Lake Placid,” said the German. “The field was stronger this year with more competitors. A skater never knows what will happen during the race, such as a fall. I am happy that I was able to use my strength and stamina and stand on the podium once again.”

In the six days of long track speed skating at Lake Placid 2023, Japan dominated the overall and gold medal standings with five gold, six silver and three bronze medals. South Korea finished second with nine medals (4-3-2).

Written by Christopher Benitez Cuartas, FISU Young Reporter

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