Canadian speed skaters end great World Cup season with no medals on last day

Something very unusual happed in the season finale on the long track speed skating World Cup circuit on Sunday.

Canada didn’t win a medal.

However that won’t dampen what was overall another terrific showing by the Canadians this season. It included two World Cup distance crowns and numerous medal performances.

On Sunday, two-time Olympic champion Catriona Le May Doan of Saskatoon in what may have been her final World Cup race, took sixth spot in the 1,000-metres clocking 1:18.52. In the same race, one of Canada’s future stars Winnipeg teenager Shannon Rempel, the world junior champion last month, posted her best ever World Cup showing placing eighth in 1:18.70.

Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands, a star from the 1998 Olympics, took the gold in 1:17.08 with Chris Witty of the U.S., second in 1:17.52 and Angelika Kotyuga of Belarus third in 1:17.79.

If this is Le May Doan’s last season she’s definitely left her mark in World Cup speed skating history. She is fourth all time in total World Cup wins for the women with 34 and second in 500-metre wins at 27. She’s a three-time 500-metre World Cup champion and took the 1,000 title once.

Kim Weger of Regina was 17th in Sunday’s 1,000 and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg, another promising junior-aged skater, won the B group final.

In the men’s 1,000, Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands earned his fourth gold medal this weekend clocking 1:09.38. He wins the 1,000-metre title. Gerard Van Velde was second in 1:09.94 and Joey Cheek of the U.S., third in 1:10.15. Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., was 18th.

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., who injured his back on Friday, did not race and ends the season fourth in the World Cup 1,000 standings. Wotherspoon took the 500 title for the fifth time in six years on Friday. He was the five-time defending 1,000 metre champion.

It was also a great World Cup year for Winnipeggers Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes.

Klassen, an Olympic bronze medallist in the 3,000 last season, took the 1,500 crown posting four victories- including Friday’s race- in six races and was third in the combined 3,000/5,000 standings with four medals in six races.

Hughes, a Olympic medallist in both speed skating and cycling, showed her incredible athletic ability placing second in the 3,000/5,000 standings this season earning her first career World Cup win and a silver.

The long track speed skating season is not over yet. The world single distance championships, considered the most important event of the year, runs next Friday to Sunday in Berlin.