Denny Morrison rounding into form with fourth-place skate at World Cup #2

Denny Morrison rounding into form with fourth-place skate at World Cup #2

Canadian long-track star records two top fives in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 16, 2013 – Denny Morrison is showing signs that he has put a broken ankle behind him and is getting ready to challenge for a long-track speed skating medal at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

The 28-year-old Fort St. John, B.C., native had another near podium skate on Saturday in the 1000m at the Essent World Cup Speed Skating event in Salt Lake City. Morrison finished fourth in 1:07.44 and missed a bronze medal by 0.41 seconds on a day that saw three of his Canadian teammates post personal bests and Sang-Hwa Lee of Korea lower her world 500m record for the third straight race.

Morrison was also fifth here on Friday in his top event, the 1500m. He once held the world record and won two world titles at that distance.

“Denny had a solid 1000m race,” said Speed Skating Canada’s long-track program director Sean Ireland. “It was a good improvement over his races last weekend in Calgary and it is his best placing since his injury last season. It was good to see him return to a very high level of performance this weekend that again puts him close to medal contention in both the 1000m and 1500m.”

Morrison was 11th in both events at the season-opening World Cup #1 in Calgary. He is making his way back after breaking his ankle while cross-country skiing in December 2012.

Gilmore Junio continues his streak of strong skating as he posted a personal best for the second straight day. Following his brilliant gold-medal performance in the 500m on Friday, the Calgarian posted a 1:08.39 to finish fifth in the B 1000m.

Marsha Hudey of Regina also skated a personal best. Her 38.39 put her fifth in the women’s B 500m. Kali Christ, also of Regina, set a personal best in the women’s A 1500m of 1:55.35.

The Canadian men’s pursuit team, which won the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, placed seventh with Morrison, Lucas Makowsky of Regina and Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., skating.

Also in the women’s B 500m, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was seventh, Danielle Wotherspoon-Gregg of Regina 18th, Kaylin Irvine of Calgary 20th and Heather McLean of Winnipeg 22nd.

Tyler Derraugh, also of Winnipeg, was seventh in the B 1000m and Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que., 11th.

Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg, who was happy with her 3000m showing on Friday, had another strong skate on Saturday, with her 1:55.19 good for second in the B 1500m. Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, Alta., was 15th and Josie Spence of Kamloops, B.C., 27th.