A Bad Day at the Oval for Denny Morrison

Richmond (Sportcom) – Denny Morrison (1:10.53) had big dreams for the 1000m event at the Olympic Winter Games. Unfortunately, he could not make those dreams a reality this Wednesday afternoon at the Richmond Oval, and ended up in 13th place overall.

Race favourite, World Champion in title, and world record holder in the distance, American Shani Davis succesfully defended his Olympic title - won four years earlier at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Davis stopped the clock at 1:08.94. Korean Tae-Bum Mo (1:09.12) added a silver medal to his collection, having won a gold in the 500m event earlier this week. Davis’ teammate Chad Hedrick (1:09.32) skated to a bronze medal.

Other Canadians racing in the event placed as follows: Jeremy Wotherspoon finished in 14th place in a time of 1:10.35; François-Olivier Roberge (1:10.75) and Kyle Parrott (1:10.89) finished 20th and 24th respectively.

Encouraged by a boisterous crowd, Morrison couldn’t find his top speed during the event. “I felt good at the starting line, but I wasn’t able to get to my maximum speed and maintain it afterwards,” indicated the athlete from Fort St. John, B.C. Visibly upset, he continued, “It’s frustrating, because I’ve been preparing for this for four years. It was a bad race and above all a bad day to have a bad race. Physically, I felt good and I’ve had solid training. Generally speaking, I’m good under pressure but today that just wasn’t the case.”

The 24 year-old skater is hoping to use today’s results as a learning curve in order to perform well in the 1500m event, scheduled for Saturday. “I have to go back and watch my race to see where I lost time,” Morrison concluded.

In what was last the Olympic race of his career, Jeremy Wotherspoon placed immediately behind teammate Morrison – in 14th place.

“I felt good during the first half of the race, but in the second part – which is not my strong suit – I was suffering and I lost a lot of speed. I would say I felt a little bit better at the Olympic Trials last December,” acknowledged the veteran athlete and 500m specialist. “It was great to have support from the crowd, it was a beautiful way to bring my Olympic career to a close.” Wotherspoon commented. The native of Red Deer (Alberta) has not confirmed whether or not he will finish the World Cup circuit this season.

“I still enjoy skating, but at a certain point in your career, it becomes difficult to continually give it your all. There is an upcoming race in Heerenveen (the Netherlands), and the crowd there is always huge, so that may well be a good place for my last race. However, I don’t want to go and race and not be able to enjoy it.” he reasoned.

François-Olivier Roberge also had mixed emotions after his race. The athlete from Saint-Nicolas (Quebec,) who, at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games finished 16th in the distance, remarked some good and bad things about his only race this Olympic Winter Games.

“My race did not go exactly as I had hoped. My start and my first 400 meters were good, but my third corner wasn’t, and that is where I lost a lot of speed. I could have done better, but at the same time, this was my fastest race on this track, and the fact that I did it at an Olympic Winter Games is very positive, even if the race itself wasn’t perfect.”

Thursday, the women’s 1000m event will take place; the Canadians taking to the ice are Christine Nesbitt, Kristina Groves, Brittany Schussler and Shannon Rempel.


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Written by Sportcom for Speed Skating Canada
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