Canadian speed skaters collect three World Cup medals

INZELL, Germany – Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., and Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg all won medals on Saturday at the eighth stop on the long track speed skating World Cup circuit.

The races were held at one of the few outdoor ovals on the circuit.

In the men’s 500 metres, Joji Kato of Japan took the gold in 35.48 seconds with Wotherspoon second in 35.61 and Keiichiro Nagashima of Japan third in 35.82. Wotherspoon had won all six World Cup 500-metre races he had entered this season.

‘’It was little disappointing not to win the race,’’ said Wotherspoon. ‘’The conditions weren’t perfect but they weren’t way off either. There were a few things I could have done better to make up time especially in the first 200 metres of the race. There’s really no adjustments to make when you race outdoors.’’

Mike Ireland of Winnipeg was sixth, Vincent Labrie of St-Romuald, Que., eighth, Mark Nielsen of Calgary 17th and Morrison 18th. Labrie and Ireland equalled their best results this season.

In the World Cup standings after 11 of 14 races, Wotherspoon has closed the gap on leader Kang-Seok Lee of South Korea with 680 points to 712 for Lee. Wotherspoon skipped two World Cup events earlier this season missing four 500 races.

In the men’s 1,000, Shani Davis of the U.S., was the winner in 1:10.58 with Morrison second in 1:11.03 and Jan Bos of the Netherlands third in 1:11.26.

‘’It was a little bit different to race outdoors,’’ said Morrison. ‘’I had a good week training but the ice felt different today and I just wasn’t prepared for it. I had a difficult 500 but I’m pleased with how I bounced back in the 1,000. Most of the Canadians use to train outdoors and that background helps us adapt quickly.’’

Wotherspoon was seventh and François-Olivier Roberge of St-Nicolas, Que., 12th. In the B Group race, Labrie and Matthew McLean of Winnipeg were sixth and seventh.

Davis still leads the World Cup standings at 590 points followed by Morrison with five medals in 10 races at the distance at 536. Wotherspoon is fifth.

In the women’s 1,000, Anni Friesinger of Germany prevailed in 1:17.78, Ireen Wust of the Netherlands was second in 1:18.79 and Rempel was third in 1:19.24. Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg was fifth. It was season best results for Rempel and Schussler.

‘’It’s nice to get that medal,’’ said Rempel. ‘’I didn’t have a very good 500 earlier and I was a little worried going into the 1,000. But I got some good speed at the beginning and fought hard until the end. It’s been awhile since I skated outside and you forget about the wind and other conditions.’’

Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer was 18th. Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., won the B Group race.

Jenny Wolf of Germany won the women’s 500. Rempel was 16th, Wotherspoon 19th and Kim Weger of Regina 20th. In the B Group race, Simpson was second and Tamara Oudenaarden of Edmonton third.

Competition ends Sunday.