Fatkulina wins sprint at speedskating World Cup, first win of season

Olga Fatkulina of Russia took advantage of Olympic champion Lee Sang-hwa’s absence to win her first World Cup speedskating sprint of the season on Saturday.

Lee, who had won the season’s previous seven races over 500 meters, withdrew with a knee problem and Fatkulina claimed the victory in 37.92 seconds, ahead of China’s Wang Beixing by 0.04 seconds.

Heather Richardson of the United States was third, 0.08 behind, in the final World Cup meet before the Olympic Games in Sochi.

Olympic silver medalist Jenny Wolf of Germany struggled with a painful ankle after crashing on Friday and had to be content with fourth.

South Korea’s Mo Tae-bum beat Dutchman Michel Mulder by 0.02 to win the men’s 1,000 in 1 minute, 9.50 seconds.

Shani Davis of the U.S., who previously won all three of the season’s races, was third — 0.09 seconds behind — though he maintains a commanding lead in the standings.

Ireen Wust of the Netherlands won the women’s 1,500 for her second win of the season.

Wust clocked 1:55.33 to beat Poland’s Katarzyna Bachleda-Curus by 0.60 seconds and compatriot Lotte van Beek by 0.95.

Later Saturday, South Korea won the men’s team pursuit in 3:41.92, ahead of Poland and Norway.