Russian speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov breaks world record

Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia skates to a first place finish and new world record in the Men's 500m with a time of 34.00 during the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Championships in Calgary, Canada, on Nov. 15, 2015.

Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia skates to a first place finish and new world record in the Men's 500m with a time of 34.00 during the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Championships in Calgary, Canada, on Nov. 15, 2015.

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World champion is first Russian to set new speed skating record since 1989.

Russian speed skater Pavel Kulizhnikov has set a new 500 m world record, beating the previous one established eight years ago by Canada’s Jeremy Wotherspoon.

The 21-year-old Russian, who is the reigning world champion in short-track speed skating, set the new record time on Nov. 15 at a World Cup event in Calgary, Canada. In his second race, Kulizhnikov covered 500 meters in 34.00 seconds, 0.03 seconds faster than the previous record set by Wotherspoon on Nov. 9, 2007 in Salt Lake City.

“Wotherspoon’s record was a landmark for short-track speed skating,” Kulizhnikov’s coach Dmitry Dorofeyev said, as quoted by the R-Sport news agency.

“The Canadian set it because he was extremely motivated. From the technical point of view, he had no equals. I still cannot see anyone skate as Jeremy does. Technically, it is very hard. Yet Kulizhnikov can master it too.”

This is the first Russian world record in speed skating since 1989, when Igor Zhelezovsky clocked a record time (1.12’58) in a 1000 m race. The last time a speed skating world record was set was in 2009, in a 1000 m race, by the United States' Shani Davis (1.06’42).

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