Speed Skating

The Associated Press - Sunday Dec. 29, 2013 15:23 ET

Shani Davis earns shot at 3rd consecutive 1,000 metre Olympic gold medal

Heather Richardson, Brittany Bowe lock up more spots

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Shani Davis looks on before competing in the men's 1,000 meters during the U.S. Olympic speed skating trials on Sunday. (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press)

Shani Davis calls the 1,000 metres "one of my babies." 

He'll be heading to Sochi looking to win a third straight gold medal. 

The two-time defending Olympic champion captured another title in his signature event, edging Brian Hansen by a hundredth of a second at the U.S. speed skating trials Sunday in Salt Lake City. 

At age 31 and likely preparing for his final Winter Games, Davis is already assured of being remembered as one of the greats of the sport.

Davis has locked up at least two events in Sochi, also claiming a spot in the 500, and is favored in the still-to-come 1,500, the other of his "babies" and the race that produced silver medals in Turin and Vancouver. In addition, there's a chance he'll take part in the team pursuit, a race he passed on at previous Olympics because he didn't want to affect preparations for his individual events. 

Davis powered around the final turn for a time of one minute, 7.52 seconds. 

In Sochi, Davis will attempt to become the first male skater to win the same speed skating event at three straight Olympics. Bonnie Blair of the U.S. and Germany's Claudia Pechstein are the only skaters to pull off the feat.

Jonathan Garcia and Joey Mantia claimed the other spots for the 1,000.

Hansen came up just short in the final group, crossing the stripe in 1:07.53. 

On the women's side, Heather Richardson beat Brittany Bowe in the 1,000 -- a repeat of their 1-2 finish in the 500 on Saturday. The other two projected spots on the Olympic team went to Sugar Todd and Kelly Gunther, the latter completing her comeback from a gruesome ankle injury shortly after she just missed making the Vancouver Olympics. 

"I can't believe it," Gunther said, "with everything I've been through and fighting back." 

Bowe is the world-record holder in the 1,000, setting the mark of 1:12.58 at the oval in suburban Salt Lake City just last month. She didn't come close to that time at the trials, settling for the second spot in 1:13.93 and conceding she was worn down a bit after the grueling World Cup schedule. 

Richardson's winning time was 1:13.23. She and Bowe will go to Sochi as the favorites in the 1,000, a role that Richardson relishes. 

"Just remember to take deep breaths and relax and have fun," she said. "That's when I skate my best."

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