Denny Morrison & Christine Nesbitt: In Top Shape!

Denny Morrison and Christine Nesbitt demonstrated that their off-season training has been more than adequate, this Sunday in Richmond (B.C.) during Day 2 of Team Canada’s Long Track Speed Skating Fall Selections.

Morrison flew through the men’s 1000m event, stopping the clock at 9.91 seconds, edging out Kyle Parrott (1 minute 10.46s; from Minnedosa (AB)) and Jamie Gregg (1 minute 10.53s; from Edmonton (AB)). Shortly after, Morrison - from Fort St. John (B.C.) - took second place in the 5000m event, with a time of 6 minutes 37.14 s. The 5000m event was won by Regina (SK) native Lucas Makowsky (6 minutes 35.56 s); former short track specialist and Montrealer Mathieu Giroux rounded out the podium in third place (6 minutes 38.01s).

In the other event of the day, Ontarian Christine Nesbitt continued her on-ice excellence winning the 1500m women’s event, with a time of 1 minute 56.89 s – after yesterday having took top honours in the 500m event. Joining Nesbitt on the podium for the 1500m event were Ottawa’s Kristina Groves (1 minute 58.30 s), and Winnipeg’s Brittany Schussler (1 minute 58.13 s), in second and third place respectively.

“I was only hoping to win, but that’s what I did; this is more than I expected! In fact, I was almost 2 seconds faster in my races today than in training races.” Morrison explained happily, after his victory in the 1000m event.

The World Vice-Champion in the event confirmed that there is still room for improvement prior to the next World Cups. “Last week, I trained really hard, but this week I had more rest days in order to make sure I was ready. Generally speaking, my progress is seen throughout the season in order to be in the best possible shape for the end of the year. I’m really happy to be able to achieve the times I did at this point in the season; I’ll be in even better shape in a few months.”

Christine Nesbitt – whose dominance has been uncontested during this weekend’s Selections - echoed Morrison’s sentiments, “I wasn’t expecting to win the event, and I can definately have better races. There is still room for improvement; I made a few errors during my race, namely sliding at the start, and taking a few corners badly.” acknowledged the London, (ON) native, who was third in the 1500m event at the World Championships held in Richmond, B.C. last spring.

According to Nesbitt, the depth of Team Canada will be an important asset when speed skaters return to the Richmond Olympic Oval next February for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

“We’re all very competitive, which makes the team even stronger. We don’t always train together, but by being in close proximity to the best in the world, I get to learn from them. Let’s just say that it would be neat to do a triple a the Olympic Winter Games!” she mentioned somewhat timidly. “There are a lot of factors I can’t control in a race - but, in a perfect world, that would be incredible.”

Monday, the women will skate the 1000m and 3000m events, while the men will take to the ice for the 1000m event.