It has been a season of firsts for Brian Hansen of Glenview.
Saturday, the long track speedskater had the first World Cup win of his career, taking the 1,000-meter race in Erfurt, Germany.
In November, the 22-year-old had won his first Cup individual medal, a bronze at 1,500 meters. He took a second bronze at that distance three weeks ago.
"It was a little bit of a surprise to win the 1,000," Hansen said in a text message Saturday. "I knew it wasn't impossible after finishing pretty high up in the past couple World Cups, (but) I wouldn't have guessed the win would come in the 1,000 before the 1,500. Hopefully that kind of success in the 1,500 is still to come."
Hansen is to skate the 1,500 Sunday. His winning time in the 1,000 Saturday, 1 minute, 9.79 seconds, was .05 faster than Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands.
Chicagoan Shani Davis, two-time Olympic champion at 1,000 meters, was eighth in 1:10.33.
Hansen was a 2010 Olympic silver medalist in team pursuit. He attributed the breakthrough success this season to focusing completely on skating rather than also going to school.
"Brian's gold today should have been on the radar," Nancy Swider-Peltz, his coach for 12 years, said in a text message. "His entire career has been a consistent upward ascent. He is probably one of the most dependable skaters in the history of the sport when it comes to results."