Denny Morrison wins gold & Vincent de Haître, bronze, in last 1000m race of long track season at World Cup Final in Germany

Denny Morrison and Vincent de Haître finished the 2014-15 campaign on a strong note in the 1000m by respectively earning gold and bronze in the last race of the season in that distance, Saturday, at the ISU Long Track Speed Skating World Cup Final held in Erfurt, Germany.

Morrison, of Fort St. John, B.C., won it in 1:09.07. He came up with his second best time at the international level this season in that distance, after skating to a time of 1:08.72 at the World Single Distance Championships, which then earned him fourth place. Morrison also won silver in the 1000m at the 2014 Olympic Games.

“I had a solid first 50 metres in my race today, which got me off to a good start,” said Morrison. “In the first turn, however, I had a weird step onto my left skate and I skidded a bit, and for a little while I wondered if I had lost a lot of speed. I continued skating and ended up surprised and happy with my opening split, as well as a fast first lap. So I forgot about it and finished as hard as I could.”

De Haître, for his part, collected his first career World Cup medal, after finishing fourth in that distance in the first World Cup stage held this season, in Obihiro, Japan. This is his first season on the World Cup circuit.

“I was a little bit hesitant at the start, but I was able to concentrate after that and I simply tried to take my time and stay relaxed,” said de Haître. “I'm enormously happy with winning my first World Cup medal, especially after coming so close at my very first World Cup in Japan.”

“I couldn't be happier to stand on the podium with my teammate Vincent De Haître. He's the first teammate I've stood on a World Cup podium with since Jeremy Wotherspoon!”, added Morrison, who shared the same podium than the 1998 Olympic silver medalist in the 500m event twice during World Cups in the 2007-2008 season in the 1000m event.

De Haître's time of 1:09.47, Saturday, is a personal best in the 1000m at the international level.

“My training sessions before this competition were going better and better, and I'm happy I was able to perform like that on race day,” he said.

Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands finished second (1:09.42) in Saturday's 1000m race to end up second in final standings in that distance. Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov, who was fourth Saturday, finished first in the annual standings. Germany's Nico Ihle was third.

Following his win which allowed him to collect 150 points, Morrison moved up from ninth to fifth place in the 2014-15 World Cup season men's 1000m final standings, with a total of 321 points. De Haître ended up in ninth place.
 
“It's a great sign of things to come,” said Morrison. “If not for an unfavourable disqualification at the start of the season (at World Cup #2 in Seoul), I would have been on the overall 1000m podium.”

“But I'm not letting that bring me down today. I have one more 1500m race Sunday, and then it will be time to celebrate a great season.”

Dubreuil finishes fourth Saturday and clinches second place in final standings
Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, clinched second place in final World Cup standings in the men's 500m by finishing fourth in that distance, Saturday, in the first of two races slated for the weekend.

This is the first time since 2007-2008 that a male Canadian skater will finish that high in men's 500m final standings. That season, Jeremy Wotherspoon was first overall in that distance. Jamie Gregg was fifth in 2012-2013.

Dubreuil skated to a time of 35.26 seconds in Saturday's 500m, 55 hundredths of a second behind the skater he was paired with, and also the leader in 500m overall standings, Pavel Kulizhnikov, who won the race in 34.71. Dubreuil was a hundredth of a second away from Gerben Jorritsma of the Netherlands, who was third with a time of 35.25. Michel Mulder, also from the Netherlands, was second (34.94).

“There's no doubt that I'm a little bit frustrated to have come so close to a podium finish, only one hundredth of a second away,” said Dubreuil. “On the other hand, I'm now sure to finish second overall, which was my main objective for the weekend. I will be able to savour my last race on Sunday!”

Kulizhnikov's win alllowed him to clinch first place in 500m final standings, as he added 150 points to the 780 he already had this season, for a total of 930 points.

Dubreuil, whose fourth place earned him 90 points, Saturday, will conclude the season in second place. He now has 651 points with another race to go, Sunday. Third-place skater Tae-Bum Mo of South Korea (495 points) did not take part in Saturday's race. Even a win in Sunday's second 500m race by Poland's Artur Was, presently fourth in the standings, would not be enough to catch up to Dubreuil. Was has 490 points.

For the World Cup Final, points awarded have been increased for the first five positions. The winner of each race receives 150 points, while 120 points are awarded for second place, 105 points for third, 90 points for fourth and 75 for fifth. A win at a regular World Cup stage is worth 100 points.

Sunday, on the last day of the World Cup Final and of the international season, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa will try to earn the overall title in the women's mass start. She is presently first in overall standings in that discipline, 10 points ahead of Irene Schouten of the Netherlands. She will also skate in the women's 3000m, where she is sixth in overall standings.

Morrison will skate in the men's 1500m. He is fifth overall in that distance, only two points away from second place, which is presently held by Jan Szymanski of Poland and Wouter olde Heuvel of the Netherlands.

Dubreuil, for his part, will skate in the second men's 500m.

The live broadcast of the ISU World Cup Final is available at http://livemanager.eurovision.edgesuite.net/isu/index.html.

More information, including a full schedule and a link to the results, can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
 
SATURDAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
1000m M
GOLD - Denny Morrison (1:09.07)
BRONZE – Vincent de Haître (1:09.47)
 
2014-15 final 1000m standings
5. Denny Morrison (321 points)
9. Vincent de Haître (246 points)
 
500m M
4. Laurent Dubreuil (35.26)
 
2014-15 overall 500m standings (with one race to go)
2. Laurent Dubreuil (651 points)

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.

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Patrick Godbout
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