Brianna Bocox led the USA to another 100 percent score in the ladies' events on the final day of the Speed Skating Four Continents Championships on Sunday. In front of a loud home crowd in Milwaukee's Pettit National Ice Center the 22-year-old US skater took the 1000m title and joined Mia Kilburg-Manganello and Paige Schwartzburg to win the Ladies’ Team Pursuit little more than an hour later. It was Bocox’s third gold medal over the weekend, but it was her teammate Manganello who topped the individual medal table with three golds and a bronze.
Medalists in Ladies' 1000m (from left): Rio Yamada (JPN, silver), Brianna Bocox (USA, gold), Mia Kilburg-Manganello (USA, bronze) 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
Ladies’ 1000m: Prolonged pace beats explosive power
Bocox faced Friday’s 500m winner Kim Min Sun (KOR) in the penultimate pairing of the 1000m. With the US skater having won the 1500m on Saturday, it was set to be a battle of explosive speed versus prolonged pace.
"I knew she was going to open hard," Bocox said.
"I was excited about that. My opener is not the strongest part of my skating, but I knew that if I chased her down I 'd be able to get myself going and get some fast laps in there."
Bocox was trailing by an 0.29 second margin at the 200m split but started reeling Kim in during the first full lap. At the 600m split she was 0.10 seconds behind and with a blistering 29.35 seconds versus Kim’s 30.96 in the final lap she left her opponent way behind.
After all seven pairs had finished, Bocox was the only one to have beaten the 1:16 barrier, stopping the clock at 1:15.53. Kim finished seventh in 1:17.04.
"I felt a little sloppy, but you can't be too disappointed when you walk away with a personal best," Bocox said.
"To be in front of a crowd that's cheering … we're in the United States so the crowd is big and they're cheering loud. That helps out a lot."
Brianna Bocox (USA) celebrates the second of her three gold medals from the inaugural Four Continents 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
Rio Yamada (JPN) grabbed silver in 1:16.02, making amends for her fall in the 500m on Friday.
"The 500m was bad because I fell. This 1000m was very good today, and it feels like revenge," she said.
With 28.69 Mia Kilburg-Manganello was the only skater to clock a final sub-29-second lap in the 1000m, but her start was not fast enough to compete for the title. She finished 0.02 away from silver, taking a surprise bronze in 1:16.04 to add to her golds in the 3000m and the Mass Start.
"I wasn't expecting that one at all,” she said. “I told my husband this morning ‘you can watch, but don't expect anything’.
"It [the 1000m] is my favorite event, but I'm not good at it because my start is too slow."
USA brought the house down by winning the Ladies' team Pursuit with Bocox, Kilburg-Manganello and Paige Schwartzburg 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
Ladies’ Team Pursuit: USA continue home run
The Milwaukee crowd were roaring for another home win shortly afterwards, when USA romped in first in the Ladies’ Team Pursuit.
With only three teams starting, it was the US trio of Bocox, Kilburg-Manganello and Paige Schwartzburg who took control, posting 3:02.55 to finish more than six seconds ahead of Canada’s Lindsey Kent, Maddison Pearman and Alexa Scott in second place with 3:08.60.
That result meant that Bocox finished the weekend with three gold medals, while Kilburg-Manganello topped the medal tally by adding bronze in the 1000m to her three race wins.
China were third in 3:14.15 through Ahena Er Adake, Chen Xiangyu and Ma Yuhan.
China ended the weekend with three team medals across the genders, including bronze in Ladies' Team Pursuit 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
The 18-year-old Scott, who will compete for Canada at the World Junior Championships in Minsk, Belarus, in two weeks’ time, was happy with her team's performance.
"This was our first race as a team together and I'm really excited about how we did,” she said. “We communicated well and that was our goal.
"It [the ISU Four Continents Championships] is great. The European Championships is a big thing and I grew up watching that. I think it's great that we have the equivalent for the rest of the world now.
"And it was a great opportunity for me to compete against some seniors, even if it's just half of the world."