Canada’s Jeremy Wotherspoon wins silver & bronze at long track speed skating World Cup

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., won the silver medal in the men’s 1,000 metres and bronze in the 500 on Saturday at a long track speed skating World Cup competition.

Wotherspoon, the most successful male World Cup speed skater in history with 54 career wins, has medalled in five of six races this season. He is off to a much stronger start in the 1,000 this season winning his second medal at the distance on Saturday after winning two all of last season on the World Cup.

In the men’s 1,000, Shani Davis of the U.S., remained undefeated this season in three races clocking 1:08.33 with Wotherspoon second in 1:08.93 and Even Wetten of Norway third in 1:09.23. Brock Miron of Calgary was 19th.

“It was a pretty solid race for me overall,” said Wotherspoon about the 1,000. “I just feel I could have been a bit more powerful but I think that will come later in the year. I made some equipment changes this year that have really helped me in this event and my approach to training in the 1,000 has been different as well. My experience has really benefited me in identifying what works well and that’s made making those adjustments a lot easier.”

“Jeremy’s goal is to be back up in the 1,000 where he’s challenging for the medals every week and to assure he’ll be a strong contender in the event at the Olympics,” said Canadian national team coach Sean Ireland. “The progress so far this year has been very satisfying.”

In the 1,000 World Cup standings, Davis leads with 300 points after three of 10 races and Wotherspoon is second at 210. Each victory is worth 100 points, second place 80, third 70 and so on.

In the B Group race Francois-Olivier Roberge of Ste-Foy, Que., was sixth and Vincent Labrie of Ste-Foy ninth.

In the men’s 500, Kang-Seok Lee of South Korea, a double silver medallist last weekend in Salt Lake City, earned the victory in 35.20 seconds with Fengtong Yu of China second in 35.24 and Wotherspoon third in 35.27. Mike Ireland of Winnipeg was sixth in 35.35 while Miron was 18th.

“I made a couple of mistakes on the turns and in my first 100 I also made mistakes,” said Wotherspoon. “I think part of that is that I was still experimenting with my equipment this week and I think I realize it’s now time for me to just get use to something. I felt pretty good today and I think I can get use to that feeling and get more out of the blades.

In the 500 World Cup standings, Lee leads with 260 points after three of 12 races while Wotherspoon, the four-time defending World Cup 500-metre champion, is second at 210 and Ireland eighth.

In the B Group race Mark Nielsen of Calgary was third and Vincent Labrie of Ste-Foy, Que., ninth.

In the men’s 100 dash, Ireland was eighth and Miron 13th.

In women’s competition, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was fifth in the 1,000 and 10th in the 500. Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., was 12th in the 100-metre dash.

“We’re very happy with Shannon’s start to the season so far,” said Ireland. “She’s going to get better and better. Her top-end speed in the 1,000 is right up there with the best in the world. She needs to get to that point faster and sustain it longer. In the 500, the big area of focus for her right now is the start.”

In B Group races, Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg was third in the 1,000 with Myers seventh, Kim Weger of Regina ninth and Marilou Asselin of Ste-Foy 11th. In the B group 500, Weger was seventh, Myers 12th, Schussler 16th and Asselin 17th.

Competition ends Sunday.