Christine Nesbitt is 1000m Champion & part of bronze medal sweep on first day of World Cup Final

Salt Lake City, USA –- As she recovers from a fall on the ice that left her with four stitches, Canada’s Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) was still able to win the 1000m World Cup title with a bronze medal performance and be part of Canadian bronze triplets, with teammates Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) and Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) also taking third place medals in the 1000m and 3000m at the World Cup Final in Salt Lake City, U.S.A today.

“I am happy with how today went. It was pretty cool for me because I have never won a title before, so that is really neat,” said Nesbitt, 23, about winning her first World Cup title in the 1000m.

“I was sick after my race today, which never happens, so I think I can only relate that to having fallen last week. I have to be careful,” described Nesbitt about her condition.

While skating on the Richmond Oval in practice last week, she was accidentally bumped by a teammate and fell, hitting her head on the ice and needing a few stitches. Nesbitt said she will evaluate how she feels tomorrow and may not compete in the 1500m, as part of a plan to focus on skating well next weekend at the World Single Distance Championships.

Germany’s Anni Friesinger won the race in 1:13.86, followed by Japan’s Sayuri Yoshi in 1:14.05. In the overall standings, Canada’s Groves came second in the 1000m even though she came sixth in today’s race, in 1:14.80.

Groves earned her medal today in the 3000m, finishing third in four minutes flat after Martina Sablikova, of the Czech Republic in 3:58.62 and Daniela Anschutz Thoms, of Germany, in 3:59.88.

“I think it was good preparation for next weekend; a good reminder of the pain and the things we need to think about,” said Groves, about her 3000m race.

Morrison, who set the world record in the 1500m last season, lost his title today to his friendly rival, American Shani Davis. Davis won today’s race in 1:41.80, shaving .20 of a second off of Morrison’s record. Morrison finished in 1:42.56, just behind silver medalist Trevor Marciano, from the U.S.A., in 1:42.31.

Also in the men’s 1500m were Steven Elm (Red Deer, AB) with a good ninth place time of 1:44.63, and Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK), with a personal best time of 1:45.63 in 14th, and Francois Olivier-Roberge (St-Nicolas, QC) was 15th.

In the men’s 500m, Canadian National Development Team skater Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) posted a great top ten result, coming ninth in 34.80 seconds. Teammates Vincent Labrie (Saint-Romauld, QC) and Muncef Ouardi (Montréal, QC) finished their races in 16th and 17th spots.

Canada’s Shannon Rempel competed in the 1000m and finished tenth today, but is fourth overall with total points from the World Cup season.

Brittany Schussler and Clara Hughes competed in the 3000m and finishing 7th in 4:03.23 and 9th in 4:05.18.

Competition continues for a second and final day in the men’s 100, 1000 and 5000m and the women’s 500 and 1500m. Complete race results are available at http://www.isuresults.eu/2008-2009/worldcup/saltlakecity/index.html.

– 30 –