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Jorien ter Mors (NED) and Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR) were crowned World Sprint Champions in Changchun on Sunday. Ter Mors took gold after defending champion Nao Kodaira (JPN) withdrew from the final 1000m, and Lorentzen kept Kai Verbij and Kai Verbij at bay at the 49th ISU World Sprint Championships.

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Jorien ter Mors (NED) and Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR)

Ter Mors takes title in style
Kodaira was in the lead after the first day of the ladies’ competition. She defended a 0.21 second-margin over Ter Mors in Sunday’s 500m. The two faced each other in the final pair. Kodaira started from the inner lane and Ter Mors had the chance to chase her on the crossover. The Olympic 500m champion opened in 10.32, sharing the fastest opening of the day with Angelina Golikova (RUS). Ter Mors clocked 10.60 at the first split, but she made amends in the full lap. Chasing down Kodaira on the backstretch, the Dutchwomen clocked the fastest lap of the day in 27.2. Kodaira held on to the lead by the skin of her teeth to finish in 37.72, which was 0.49 seconds slower than her first 500m. Ter Mors was 0.11 faster than Saturday and clocked 37.86 to come second.

Russians Olga Fatkulina, Golikova and youngster Daria Kachanova came third, fourth and fifth in the 500m, but Brittany Bowe (USA) was sixth to hold on to third place behind Kodaira and Ter Mors in the ranking.

Soon after the 500m, Kodaira gave up the defense of her World Sprint title, when she withdrew from the final 1000m due to illness. Ter Mors thus had to defend a 1.62 second margin over Bowe in the final 1000m to seize the title. Not only did she defend her margin, the Olympic 1000m champion defeated Bowe in the final 1000m, to take the title in style. Ter Mors finished in 1:15.19. Bowe came second in 1:15.93, and Marrit Leenstra (NED) third in 1:15.98.

Ter Mors became the second Dutch lady to win the World Sprint title, after Marianne Timmer in 2004. Bowe, the 2015 and 2016 champion, took silver and Olga Fatkulina (RUS) grabbed the bronze medal. Leenstra missed out on the final podium by 0.30 points and came fourth.

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Brittany Bowe (USA), Jorien ter Mors (NED) and Olga Fatkulina (RUS)

Lorentzen holds off Dutch challenge
Lorentzen increased his lead in the classification with a strong second 500m on Sunday. The Norwegian Olympic champion in the shortest distance, clocked 34.96 in the final pair versus Nuis, who had to settle for 14th place in 35.26. Laurent Dubreuil (CAN) was the only other skater to finish under 35 seconds, when he stopped the clock at 34.99 and Ronald Mulder (NED) came third with 35.04 in the 500m. Kai Verbij (NED), held on to his second place in the classification with 35.16 in 11th place.

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Kjeld Nuis (NED) and Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR)

Heading into the final 1000m, Lorentzen defended a 0.69 second gap over Verbij and he had an exact one second advantage over third ranked Nuis. Mika Poutala (FIN) was fourth at 1.11 seconds.

Nuis was the first of the contenders to take the ice and the Olympic 1000m champion again showed his superiority in this event, when he clocked 1:09.11. Verbij had to give up his title aspirations, when he skated 1:09.47, to end up behind Nuis in de classification. Lorentzen had to skate under 1:10.10 and managed to stop the clock at 1:09.81.

Nuis won the 1000m. Nico Ihle (GER) came second in 1:09.29, Verbij took third place and Lorentzen came fourth. In the final classification Ihle overtook Poutala in fourth place. Verbij took bronze, Nuis silver, and Lorentzen became the first Norwegian World Sprint champion since Frode Rønning in 1981, and the third Norwegian in the history of the ISU World Sprint Championships.