Denny Morrison finishes 8th in 1000m at Berlin World Cup; women’s team pursuit team just misses medal

Olympic medallist Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., found his way back in the top-10 and was the top Canadian in Saturday's individual races at the ISU long track speed skating World Cup in Berlin, while the women’s team pursuit narrowly missed a medal for the second straight race.

Morrison, the 2014 Olympic silver medallist in the 1000m, finished eighth in one minute, 10.09 seconds in that same distance in Saturday's race. He was just 0.53 seconds back of the bronze medal performance by Hein Otterspeer of the Netherlands. Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, Ont., and Richard MacLennan of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., respectively took the 15th and 17th spots.
 
“Although I can’t really say I’m satisfied with an eighth place finish, I’m a bit surprised I was able to place that high considering how I was feeling earlier this week,” Morrison said.

A flu bug has affected Morrison and some members of the team in Seoul, Korea, and upon the skaters' arrival in Berlin. The Canadian team has been away from home since early November.

“Things like this happen when you are in close quarters for extended periods of time and travelling a lot,” said coach Mark Wild. “We took steps to limit the impact of the flu on the team and fortunately, the team is now healthy going into the final World Cups.”

Morrison has therefore picked up where he left off after seeing his string of consecutive top-10 showings, in the 1000m and 1500m World Cup events combined, end at eight races two weeks ago. He was then disqualified for unintentional obstruction in Seoul. His streak until then included a win in the 1000m race at a World Cup in Heerenveen, Netherlands, on March 14, 2014.

“Ultimately, my focus is being ready for the important competitions in February. I hope to maintain my consistency during these fall World Cups and use that to build into a strong end of season finish,” Morrison said.

In the women's team pursuit, the Canadian trio composed of Ottawa’s Ivanie Blondin, Regina’s Kali Christ and World Cup rookie Josie Spence, of Kamloops, B.C., finished fourth -- the same spot they found themselves in last month, following the first race of the season in Obihiro, Japan. This time, they were just 0.71 seconds behind bronze-medal winning Japan.

Dutch-born Ted-Jan Bloemen was 10th in his first 5000m race for Canada. His time of 6:29.89 allowed him to earn his sixth career top-10 result at a World Cup. Bloemen received ISU approval to skate for Canada, where his father was born, in time to skate in Seoul. Jordan Belchos of Markham, ON, was 16th.

Blondin finished 16th in Saturday's 1000m race, while Christ placed 18th.

Alexandra Ianculescu of Toronto placed 15th in the women’s B 1000m, followed by Winnipeg’s Heather McLean in 16th. Tyler Derraugh, also of Winnipeg, was 11th in the men’s B 1000m.

The Berlin World Cup wraps up Sunday with the men’s and women’s 500m, both 1500m events and the two mass start races. Laurent Dubreuil of Levis, Que., will attempt to win his third straight World Cup medal in the 500m. He followed his third-place showing Nov. 23 in Seoul with a silver medal in Berlin on Friday.

Blondin, for her part, will attempt to do the same in the women’s mass start. She opened the season with a win in Obihiro, Japan on Nov. 14 and added a bronze in Seoul on Nov. 23.

More information, including the complete schedule and the lists of entrants for each race (posted the night before each event), can be found through Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.

Live streaming of A group races in Berlin will be available at http://livemanager.eurovision.edgesuite.net/isu/index.html.
 
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 13,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

- 30 -

For information:
Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC

Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC