Catch Her If You Can: Nesbitt Faster Still!

As World Cup #5 in Salt Lake City comes to a close Sunday, Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) made it clear she’s the one to beat in the 1000m event, with another gold medal in a personal best time of 1:13.36. Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) put in yet another solid performance with a seventh place finish in the distance, in a time of 1:14.54.

If people thought Christine Nesbitt couldn’t get any faster on the ice, she proved them wrong today, with a blistering skate that broke her previous personal best that had stood for two years. “I was really surprised about my skate today; it was way faster than my personal best – it was the fastest I’ve ever gone!” exclaimed a thrilled Nesbitt post-race. Despite her impressive gold medal collection, Nesbitt still sees herself as the underdog for the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, “I can see how Canada is the favourite for the Team Pursuit, but so far as me, I don’t have a lot of Olympic experience; the last time I was in the Winter Olympics, I was a nobody.” While competitors would be best advised to spend their holidays training, Nesbitt forsees some rest with her visiting parents, and then a return to the ice for the Olympic trials that start a few days after Christmas – though the pressure will be off the Ontario native since she’s prequalified for the 1000m and 1500m events.

Also racing the 1000m were Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB), who came across the line in a time of 1:15.60 for 19th place, and Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) who came in at 20th in 1:15.63.

In the men’s 1000m event, Jeremy Wotherspoon (Red Deer, AB) came back from yesterday’s skate malfunctions to post Canada’s best finish – sixth place in 1:07.77. Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) skated to ninth place in 1:08.05; Kyle Parrott (Minnedosa, MB) came in 11th in a time of 1:08.07, and Denny Morrison (Fort St. John B.C.) rounded out the Canadian contingent with a 12th place in 1:08.24.

Men’s and Women’s Team Pursuits Both Medal

Canada’s men’s and women’s team pursuit skaters both had solid races today with a silver for the women and a bronze for the men. The women’s team composed of Christine Nesbitt, Kristina Groves, and Cindy Klassen were not quite able to hold off hard-charging gold medal winners Russia (2:57.18), and had to settle for the silver in a time of 2:57.35. The women of the Netherlands and Germany both came in for a bronze each in a time of 2:57.36.

Skating for the men, Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK), Mathieu Giroux (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) and Steven Elm (Red Deer, AB) earned themselves a bronze in 3:40.34; behind Norway who took the gold in 3:39.55, and silver medallists Italy who skated the distance in a time of 3:39.72.

The next competition for long track speed skaters will be the Canadian Olympic Trials, starting on December 27th after Father Christmas’ visit, and then all eyes will be on the Richmond Oval for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games from February 12-24th.

Other Canadian Results:

Women’s 1000m, Division B
Justine L’Heureux (Saint-Tite, QC) 28th – 1:18.40