11:39 AM EST, March 10, 2012
In what had been her weakest event over the past two seasons, Glenview's Lana Gehring put herself in the same company as the greatest women's speedskater in U.S. history.
Saturday in Shanghai, Gehring won the bronze medal in the 500 meters at the World Short Track Championships.
The last U.S. women's short track world championship medalist at the distance was Bonnie Blair, who took gold in 1986 after silver in 1985.
It was the first individual event world medal for Gehring, 21, a relay bronze medalist at the 2010 Olympics.
Gehring (44.815 seconds) finished third to Fan Kexin of China (44.438) and Arianna Fontana of Italy (44.467).
The strong performance moved Gehring up to sixth place in the overall classification after she had finished 11th in Friday's 1,500. The top eight after Sunday's 1,000 qualify for the 3,000 super final and a chance at an overall medal.
"I never thought I would get a bronze in the 500," Gehring said. "That's out of nowhere for me. I had a slow day yesterday, but I definitely came back today strong and I'm very happy."
Gehring began her World Cup career as a 500-meter specialist. Since then, more endurance training improved her results in the longer races, and an Achilles tendon injury curtailed her sprint training. Prior to worlds, she had raced the 500 just once internationally the past two seasons.
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