Canadians in Top 20 at World Championships

Canadians in Top 20 at World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships

SOCHI, Russia
- With fewer than 323 days until the Sochi 2014 Games, 15 of Canada’s long track athletes are earning valuable experience competing at the Adler Arena Olympic venue during the 2013 World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Sochi, Russia, which started today with the men’s 1,500-meter and women’s 3,000-metre distances.

Four Canadians competed in the two races on the first day of the world championships.

Ottawa’s Ivanie Blondin had the top ranking, taking 15th place in a time of four minutes and 15.06 seconds. Winnipeggers Brittany Schussler and Cindy Klassen came in close behind in 16th and 19th spots, respectively. Schussler had a time of 4:15.72 and Klassen came in at 4:16.87. Klassen was sixth and Schussler eighth last year, while Blondin was 14th in 2011.

Last year’s bronze medallist, Ireen Wust of the Netherlands, won the 3,000-metre gold medal in 4:02.43, outpacing defending champion Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic by 2.37 seconds. Sablikova had a time of 4:04.80 for the silver medal and Germany’s Claudia Pechstein took the bronze in 4:07.75.

Lucas Makowsky of Regina was the lone Canadian in the 1,500-metre race. The 25-year-old recorded a time of one minute and 49.15 seconds to take 19th place. Makowsky won the bronze medal in 2011. Defending Denny Morrison, of Fort St. John, B.C., did not take part in the race, but will skate the 1,000 metres Friday. He is just returning to competition this week after breaking his left fibula last December.

Hometown fans were treated to their own anthem as Russian Denis Yuskov won the 1,500-metre gold medal in a time of 1:46.32 and teammate Ivan Skobrev took the bronze in 1:46.97. American Shani Davis earned the silver medal crossing the finish line in 1:46.83.

Friday, the men will skate the 1,000 and 5,000 metres, and the 1,500 metres for the women. The women have two races Saturday, the 1,000- and 5,000-metre distances, and the men have one race, the 10,000 metres. The season wraps-up Sunday with the two 500-metre races and team pursuit.