Denny Morrison, 7th in the 1000m & best Canadian result today

“It’s back to normal!” commented Alberta’s Jamie Gregg. One week after the jubilent crowds at the Richmond Olympic Oval, Canada’s long track speed skaters were back on the ice – this time in Erfurt, Germany. The best Canadian performance of the day came from Denny Morrison (Fort St.John, B.C.), seventh in the 1000m.

Skating the distance in a time of 1:10.14, Morrison was only 0.85 seconds from the winning time, belonging to American Shani Davis (1:09.29). “I wasn’t able to get my top speed at the beginning of the race, so it could have been better.” analyzed Morrison. “I lost some time in my first lap.”

The British Columbia native will be participating in the second 1000m race on Sunday – where he will be aiming to skate faster. “I have to be faster in the starts, and I need to be faster in the corners, too,” he strategized; Morrison also raced the 500m event today, where he placed fifth in Group B with a time of 36.40

Also racing the 1000m, Jeremy Wotherspoon (Red Deer, AB) completed the distance in a time of 1:10.23 to take 8e place; Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) finished the distance in 1:11.06, earning himself 14th, and Kyle Parrott (Minnedosa, MB) came across the line in 1:11.25 to finish 15th.

In 500m, Jamie Gregg posted the highest Canadian result in the event with a ninth place in a time of 35.58 – 0.61 seconds behind the Netherland’s Jan Smeekens, who took first place. Wotherspoon (35.63), Parrott (35.89) and Vincent Labrie (Saint-Romuald, QC; 36.11) were also in action, finishing 11th, 15th and 19th places, respectively.

Suffering from a cold over the past few days, Gregg quickly felt fatigued during his race. “I skated well, but I was lacking energy pretty early on, which generally doesn’t happen to me. Nevertheless, I’m pretty satisfied with the way I skated, it’s just the power aspect that was missing a bit today.”

In women’s racing, Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) took 13th in the 1000m event, stopping the clock at 1:18.90; in the 500m event she came 15th with a time of 39.53.

Two other Canadian women were on the ice today - Anastasia Bucsis (Calgary, AB) and Tamara Oudenaarden (St.Albert, AB) raced in Group B. Bucsis took sixth (39.90) in the 500m event, and fifth (1:20.77) in the 1000m event; for her part, Oudenaarden skated to eighth (40.54) in the 500m event and and 7th (1:22.40) in the 1000m.

Olympic Champion Christine Nesbitt (London, ON), who is also in Erfurt, did not race today (Saturday) due to a wry neck. Nesbitt hopes to be able to skate Sunday in the second 1000m event.

Sunday, both the men and women will take to the ice once again for the 500m and 1000m events.