Denny Morrison & Christine Nesbitt first in 500m at World Allround Championships

Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) skated a superb 500m race today to win for the second year in a row the first place in the distance at the World Allround Championships. Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) showed that she is one of the world's most versatile and prolific long distance skaters by also finishing first in the 500m. Like Morrison, Nesbitt was the top skater in the 500m of the event last year as well.

“I've done lots of 500m this season and actually it was my fastest one this far. I am happy to win and I was expecting to do well. With the training, I am definitely on target for next year. I am stronger physiologically and there's been lots of improvement technically,” mentioned Morrison to news reporters in a teleconference. “I expect to do well tomorrow in the 1500m. I am more the type of middle distance skater and after a strong 500m, we're looking for a strong 1500m.”

Continuing on his winning streak of the past few weeks, Denny Morrison won the men's 500m race thanks to a time of 35.55 seconds. Following him in second place was Norway's Havard Bakko (35.99). Poland's Konrad Niedzwiedki came in third with a time of 36.04 seconds. Also racing the 500m were veteran skater Steven Elm (Red Deer, AB) who came in 12th and young Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) who finished 19th.

Dutch skater Sven Kramer (6:09.74) won the men's 5000m. Havard Bakko (6:15.94) of Norway finished second and third place went to Italian skater Enrico Fabris (6:20.31). Denny Morrison was 13rd of the group. Steven Elm ended 18th while Lucas Makowsky finished 20th.

On the women side, Christine Nesbitt crossed the finish line in 38.87 seconds to take first place in the 500m. Russian skater Alla Shabanova (39.53) finished in second place while Netherlands's Ireen Wost (39.61) was third. Only one tenth of a second behind was Kristina Grove (Ottawa, ON) in 4th with a time of 39.71 seconds. Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) was 8th of the group with a time of 40.07 and Clara Hughes (Winnipeg, MB), a long distance skater, ended in 23rd place.

“I am very surprised that I went that fast. It's the fastest I've been in Europe. I am thrilled. It was a very good race. I felt really strong in every push I had on the ice and I had lots of grip. It was a very good feeling,” said Christine Nesbitt after her race. “Last year I won by a large margin and this year I won by an even larger one. It's pretty cool and it shows that my 500m is improving. I am looking forward to the 1500m tomorrow. I would like to win it and in order to do that I'll have to do my best and make sure I skate technically well. Today, I proved myself that I can skate really fast and I have lots of endurance. I am confident I can skate a really good 1500m tomorrow.”

The ladies' top spot in the 3000m distance was awarded to Martina Sablikova (4:01.90) of Czech Republic. Second and third place went to Netherlands' skaters Renate Groenewold (4:05.61) and Paulien van Deutekom (4:05.88). Kristina Groves finished 5th with a time of 4:06.23 minutes, Brittany Schussler came in 11th while Clara Hughes finished in 12th place. Christine Nesbitt was 13th.

After today's races, Denny Morrison is 4th in the overall rankings while Steven Elm is 16th and Lucas Makowsky is 20th. On the ladies side, Christine Nesbitt is second overall and Kristina Groves is 4th. Also making the top 10 is Brittany Schussler in 8th place. Clara Hughes is 20th. The Championships continues tomorrow with the 1500m race for both men and women as well as the men's 10000m and the ladies' 5000m.

For complete results, click here.