Host City: Torino, Italy
Venue(s): Lingotto Oval, Torino
Date Started: February 14, 2006
Date Finished: February 14, 2006
Format: Two runs, total time determined placement.
The top contenders for the women’s sprint were Wang Manli and Svetlana Boyarkina-Zhurova. At the past editions of the World Championships, Wang had placed 2nd (2003), and 1st (2004, 2005), and she had won four World Cup races in the Olympic season. By contrast, Zhurova’s best years had been long before, winning the 500 m world title back in 1996 (and placing second in 1999). However, she had made a strong comeback in the 2005/2006 season, winning her first World Cup races in years, and unexpectedly winning the 2006 World Sprint Championships ahead of Wang. Other medal contenders were 16-year-old Lee Sang-Hwa of South Korea, and Jenny Wolf of Germany.
Known for her fast openers, Wolf started against Zhurova in the first heat, with the fastest 100 m of the pack (10.39), but Zhurova’s lap was much stronger, to finish in 38.23. Her time remained unmatched in the remaining pairs, with Wang coming closest at 38.31. Next were Tomomi Okazaki, the 1998 bronze medalist from Japan, and Ren Hui (China), who had been in silver medal position at the 2005 Worlds, before falling in the second run. In 6th and 7th, Wolf and Lee appeared out of contention already.
The final pairs of the second run started with Ren against Wolf. With a sound lap, the Chinese neared the time of Zhurova from the first run, with 38.27. This left Okazaki with a hard target for the bronze medal, and she just failed to get it, missing out by 0.05 seconds. The final pair was between the two leaders, Wang and Zhurova. Nearly equal at the bell, Zhurova edged away in the final straight to 38.34. That time was not enough to win the second heat, but good enough for a long awaited gold medal, ahead of the two Chinese sprinters, Wang and Ren.
|5||Lee Sang-Hwa||16||South Korea||KOR||77.04|
|11||Jennifer Rodriguez||29||United States||USA||77.70|
|14||Sanne van der Star||19||Netherlands||NED||78.59|
|17||Amy Sannes||29||United States||USA||78.89|
|18||Choi Seung-Yong||26||South Korea||KOR||79.02|
|20||Kim Yu-Rim||16||South Korea||KOR||79.25|
|23||Elli Ochowicz||22||United States||USA||79.48|
|25||Lee Bo-Ra||19||South Korea||KOR||79.73|
|28||Chris Witty||30||United States||USA||80.69|