Canada's Howe wins first World Cup gold, Weidemann claims second medal of season

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands — Canada's Connor Howe won gold in the men's 1,500 metres on Sunday for the first World Cup victory of his career.

Isabelle Weidemann also stood on the podium at the Thialf arena, skating to silver in the women’s 3,000 metres.

Howe was aware of the leading pace set by two Dutch athletes — reigning Olympic champion Kjeld Nuis (1:43.64) and Thomas Krol (1:43.83) as he toed the line in the event's second-last pairing.

The 22-year-old Howe skated the fifth fastest time ever recorded at the Thialf arena to win the gold medal by a margin of 0.26 seconds.

"I would have been happy just to make the podium so getting the gold felt incredible," said Howe. "My goal was to combine a good start with a relaxed first lap, then carry the speed, and that happened for me today.

"It's been a great start to the season and I'm looking forward to keeping it going at the World Cups in Calgary this December."

Building on his fifth-place finish in the event at the Beijing Olympics, the native of Canmore, Alta. now has two medals in two races of the distance this season, having captured silver last weekend in Norway.

Weidemann earned her silver in the women’s 3,000 metres behind Irene Schouten of the Netherlands' track-record time of 3:54.04. The Ottawa native finished in 3:57.70. Ragne Wiklund of Norway took bronze in 3:58.31.

"I'm very surprised with the time that I skated, because I was a little bit sick this week and I’m not feeling great," said Weidemann. "I thought I was just going in to battle for some points.

"I haven’t actually raced Irene (Schouten) in a long time, so it was nice to see where the gap is that I have to close to beat her."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press