Christine Nesbitt – Invincible in the 1500m

Could Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) in fact be invincible? In the 1500m event, she certainly appears to be, after yet another gold medal skate this Sunday in Hamar, Norway at this weekend’s long track speed skating World Cup. Joining Nesbitt on the podium was Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) who skated to the bronze medal. The two skaters then joined their forces with teammate Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) to win yet another gold medal, this time in the team pursuit event.

Nesbitt had a busy day, starting with her gold medal skate in the 1500m event in a time of 1:58.00, three one-hundredths of a second ahead of her closest adversary, the Netherlands’ Marrit Leenstra. “I had a great start, but after the first 700m I lost some speed,” analyzed Nesbitt. “The end of my race wasn’t as fast as I would have wanted, but I’m happy with my results,” she concluded.

This makes gold number three for Nesbitt in the 1500m event – in this distance this season she remains unbeaten. “Last year I won four 1000m races in a row, and I had some difficulty managing the pressure of remaining unbeaten after. This year, I have no expectations about my racing; I’m trying to focus on things that actually are under my control.”

Schussler joined teammate Nesbitt on the 1500m event podium, taking third place with her time of 1:58.96. This is a first podium this season for the Canadian skater, who came close in many of the previous World Cup races. “I’m really thrilled to earn the bronze! Saturday, after the 5000m race, I was really tired and I started to really feel the lactic acid in my legs, so I was a bit apprehensive about skating the 1500m today. Despite it though, I think that type of fatigue actually helped me to perform better today,” she explained.

Cindy Klassen also skated the event, finishing sixth in a time of 2:00.16. In Group B’s 1500m race, Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) earned ninth place in 2:06.20, and Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB) came 11th in 2:07.97.

In the World Cup rankings in the 1500m event, Nesbitt clearly leads the pack. Leenstra is in second place, ahead of Canada’s Schussler by 16 points, while Klassen is fourth, a mere five points from Schussler.

Team Canada’s Women Back on Top

In the women’s Team Pursuit event, Klassen, Nesbitt and Schussler dominated, winning gold in a time of 3:00.90, three seconds ahead of Team Russia, who earned the silver. Team Netherlands took the last step on the podium in 3:04.62 – at 3.72 seconds from Team Canada.

“We had a great race; even though we were all tired, we were able to skate well enough to win the gold,” commented Nesbitt, happy and somewhat surprised about their result, a new track record for the women’s pursuit in Hamar.

In men’s skating, only the 10 000m event took place today; Canuck Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) skated to 12th place, crossing the line in 13:56.42.

In Group B in the same distance, Léo Landry (Chelsea, QC) finished 16th in 14:02.41, and Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK) skated to 17th in a time of 14:02.47.

The Chinese city of Changchun will play host to the next long Track World Cup this upcoming weekend, where sprint races will be disputed.