Friday, February 13, 1998
Olympic record for Le May Doan
NAGANO, Japan (AP-CP) -- Canadian Catriona Le May Doan and the clap skate. Looks like an unbeatable combination at the Olympic speed skating oval.
Le May Doan, the world's most dominant female sprinter since switching to the hinged clap blade, moved halfway to her expected gold medal in the 500-metre race by leading the first round of competition today.
Though the Saskatoon skater didn't come close to breaking her own world record, the only woman ever to beat 38 seconds was better than anyone else at M-Wave. She led the field with an Olympic record 38.39 and will try to wrap up the gold medal Saturday when the second 500 is held, the winner determined by the best aggregate time.
The Canadians may be on their way to a 1-2 sweep as Winnipeg's Susan Auch stood second after the first day at 38.42.
"Catriona had a good race but she was a little tight around the back stretch, so I think we'll see even more from her (Saturday)," said Derrick Auch, who coaches both Le May Doan and Auch, his sister.
Le May Doan and Susan Auch will skate against each other in the final race.
"I want Susan to win as her brother but Catriona and I have a great relationship and I want her to win too," Derrick Auch said. "It's a difficult thing to keep them both happy sometimes. They're great champions."
Japanese skaters, cheered on by a horn-tooting home crowd at M-Wave, captured the next two spots, with Tommi Okazaki in third at 38.55 and Kyoko Shimazaki fourth at 38.75.
In reality, just about everyone is out of Le May Doan's league. The 27-year-old was seventh in the World Cup standings a year ago, but she has hardly been topped this season since switching to the clap skate.
Le May Doan came to Nagano having won five of six World Cup races, finishing second in the other. She has lowered the world record four times in the past three months, winding up at a clap-happy 37.55.
"I think the big thing is to be on the skates and to be able to build up trust," she said. "When you're going at such high speeds, you have to be able to trust your skates."
Auch hopes to improve on the silver medal she won at Lillehammer four years ago -- only the second medal in speed skating competition for Canadian women.
Both of those previous medals were silver. This year, though, they look as gold on the clap skates.
"Susan had a great opening, she stayed low and she worked hard the whole race -- that's why she's so close," her brother said.
For the first time at an Olympics, the 500-metre events for both men and women are being held over two races with competitors setting off from one lane on the first day, then from the other.
Le May Doan welcomed the change, introduced to prevent skaters starting from the favoured inner lane from having an advantage.
"The lanes do make a bit of a difference so I think it's better that way," said the Canadian, who set off from the inner lane on Friday.
ResultsNAGANO, Japan (AP) -- Results Friday after the first run of the women's 500 meter speedskating event at the Winter Olympics.
1, Catriona Lemay-Doan, Canada, 38.39.
2, Susan Auch, Canada, 38.42.
3, Tomomi Okazaki, Japan, 38.55.
4, Kyoko Shimazaki, Japan, 38.75.
5, Franziska Schenk, Germany, 38.88.
6, Chris Witty, West Allis, Wis., 39.09.
7, Svetlana Zhurova, Russia, 39.11.
8, Monique Garbrecht, Germany, 39.11.
9, Marianne Timmer, Netherlands, 39.12.
10, Sabine Voelker, Germany, 39.19.
11, Linda Johnson-Blair, Canada, 39.24.
12, Eriko Sammiya, Japan, 39.25.
13, Xue Ruihong, China, 39.49.
14, Shiho Kusunose, Japan, 39.56.
15, Andrea Nuyt, Netherlands, 39.62.
16, Anke Baier-Loef, Germany, 39.73.
17, Anzhelika Kotyuga, Belarus, 39.76.
18, Moira DiAndrea, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., 39.83.
19, Yang Chunyuan, China, 39.92.
20, Sandra Zwolle, Netherlands, 39.98.
21, Oksana Ravilova, Russia, 39.99.
22, Wang Manli, China, 40.01.
23, Edel Hoiseth, Norway, 40.02.
24, Choi Seung-yong, South Korea, 40.17.
25, Becky Sundstrom, Glen Ellyn, Ill., 40.20.
26, Marieke Wijsman, Netherlands, 40.22.
27, Amy Sannes, St. Paul, Minn., 40.41.
28, Lezhya Belozub, Ukraine, 40.42.
29, Tatiana Danshina, Russia, 40.53.
30, Chun Hee-joo, South Korea, 40.67.
31, Kang Mi-young, South Korea, 40.96.
32, Lyudmila Kostyukevich, Belarus, 41.00.
33, Krisztina Egyed, Hungary, 41.20.
34, Kim Joo-hyun, South Korea, 41.36.
35, Kim Jong, North Korea, 42.17.
36, Michelle Morton, Canada, 42.95.
37, Jin Hua, China, 1:04.07.
38, Emese Hunyady, Austria, DQ.