Fredricks, Davis earn titles

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Gazette staff
Friday, December 16, 2011
— Shani Davis and Heather Richardson won 1,000-meter races Thursday at the U. S. Speedskating Long Track Championships.

Davis, the two-time Olympic gold medalist at that distance, won in 1 minute, 8.42 seconds. The champion from Chicago beat Brian Hansen of Norwood, Mass., who was second in 1:09.29.

Richardson, of High Point, N.C., won in 1:15.51, She beat out Brittany Bowe, of Ocala, Fla. (1:16.27).

Richardson, who also won both 500-meter races, earned her second U. S. Sprint Title, which is based on times for the three races.

Tucker Fredricks, of Janesville, won his second sprint title. He took both 500s and finished third in the 1,000 in 1:09.91.

Waiting for his own race, Davis said he knew Fredricks had a chance to beat him in 1,000 with a big finish. Despite that, Davis was yelling loudly for his longtime friend to go even faster as Fredricks sped down the final straightaway to the finish line.

"Our friendship comes before the skating," Davis said. "I've known Tucker since I was 6 or 7 years old. It doesn't hurt to cheer him on."

Davis and Fredricks have one of the strongest friendships in speedskating, a sport known for camaraderie and a lack of jealousy.

"We just have a lot of fun together and we've helping each other out for years," Fredricks said. "I've been trying to help him with starts and he's been trying to help me out with my laps and my turns and stuff. We have a lot of respect for each other."

Although Davis has won more sprint titles, he was proud of his friend's achievement.

"He deserves it, he worked very hard, I'm proud of him," Davis said.

Last updated: 7:05 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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