Denny Morrison earns third gold, second win for Cindy Klassen at speed skating nationals

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg collected her second gold medal on Saturday at the Canadian single distances championships in long track speed skating with a victory in the women's 1,500-metres at the Olympic Oval.

"It's going much better than expected," said Klassen, a five-time medallist at the Turin Olympics last February, who skipped the fall World Cup races to train after a busy off-season. "I wasn't sure how I would fare coming into this competition. But I felt good on the ice, posted good splits and never panicked."

Klassen, the world record holder in the event, clocked one minute and 54.95 seconds. She also won the 1,000m on Friday. Kristina Groves of Ottawa was second in 1:55.73 and Clara Hughes of Winnipeg third in 1:57.81.

In the men's 1,500m, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., earned a third victory clocking 1:43.83. He also won the 500m and 1,000m this week. Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., was second in 1:45.12 and Francois-Olivier Roberge of St-Nicolas, Que., third in 1:45.55.

"With the exception of the last lap, I'm really pleased with my race," said Morrison, 21. "I've got six competitions in a row coming up in the New Year and I feel I'm ready for the challenge."

Competition ends Sunday.

Saturday's results at the Canadian single distances championships in long track speed skating:

MEN

1,500: 1. Denny Morrison, Fort St. John, B.C., 1:43.83; 2. Steven Elm, Red Deer, Alta., 1:45.12; 3. Francois-Olivier Roberge, St-Nicolas, Que., 1:45.55; 4. Arne Dankers, Calgary, 1:46.15; 5. Justin Warsylewicz, Regina, 1:46.34; 6. Jeff Kitura, Langley, B.C., 1:46.77; 7. Jay Morrison, Fort St. John, 1:47.32; 8. Adam McCabe, Cambridge, Ont., 1:47.62; 9. Neal Zaluski, Moose Jaw, Sask., 1:47.90; 10. Lucas Makowsky, Regina, 1:47.96.

WOMEN

1,500: Cindy Klassen, Winnipeg, 1:54.95; 2. Kristina Groves, Ottawa, 1:55.73; 3. Clara Hughes, Winnipeg, 1:57.81; 4. Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg, 1:58.14; 5. Brittany Schussler, Winnipeg, 1:58.90; 6. Tara Risling, Medicine Hat, Alta., 2:02.26; 7. Nicole Garrido, Edmonton, 2:03.46; 8. Justine L'Heureux, Ste-Tite, Que., 2 :04.38; 9. Shannon Sibold, Calgary, 2 :04.61; 10. Kylee Toth, Calgary, 2:06.09.