Dubreuil & Gregg in Top 10 at World Championships

Dubreuil and Gregg in Top 10 at World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships

SOCHI, Russia
- Laurent Dubreuil and Jamie Gregg led Canada today to Top 10 finishes in the 500 metres at the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Sochi, Russia.

Summary of Canadians today: Women's 500 m: Kaylin Irvine 18th (78.23 points), Anastasia Bucsis, 19th (78.37), Danielle Wotherspoon, 20th (78.49); Men's 500 m: Laurent Dubreuil, 9th (70.35 points); Jamie Gregg, 10th (70.50); Gilmore Junio, 19th (71.20); Women's team pursuit: Ivanie Blondin, Christine Nesbitt and Brittany Schussler, 8th place (3:20.92); Men's team pursuit: Jordan Belchos, Lucas Makowsky and Denny Morrison, 7th place (3:49.00).

In his second world championships and first full season on the senior circuit, Laurent Dubreuil finished ninth overall in the 500 metres with 70.35 points. The 20-year-old from Lévis, Que., took seventh place in the first race in a time of 35.09 seconds and 10th spot in the second in 35.26. In both races, Dubreuil recorded his fastest times of the season outside of North America.

"I felt pretty good. The first race was near perfect - the best of the year and probably of my life," said Dubreuil. "The second one wasn't nearly as good but it was still a good race. Overall, a very good weekend and I can't complain about ninth place.

"I'm really looking forward to the next time I come here. I love the ice here," added Dubreuil on skating in Sochi. "The feeling I had on it was exceptional. I can't wait for the Olympics next season."

"I'm quite satisfied (with Laurent's races). He started off with a really good first race," said Dubreuil's coach, Gregor Jelonek. "With the second race, and a little more pressure, he was probably a little more tense. Nonetheless, he finished ninth overall - a huge improvement compared to last year (11th). It looked like the ice really liked him. So I believe it looks promising for next year."

Taking part in his fourth world championships, Jamie Gregg now has as many Top 10 finishes in the 500 metres. The Edmonton-native was 10th overall with 70.50 points, after placing 12th (35.30 seconds) and eighth (35.20). The 27-year-old ranked eighth in 2009, sixth in 2011 and ninth in 2012.

Calgary's Gilmore Junio, competing in his first world championships, was 19th overall after two races with 71.20 points. The 22-year-old was 17th (35.46) and 20th (35.74) in his races.

Tae-Bum Mo of South Korea repeated as world champion with 69.76 points after taking third place (34.94 seconds) in the first race and winning (34.82) the second. Joji Kato of Japan won the silver medal (69.82) and Jan Smeekens of the Netherlands had bronze (69.86).

In the women's 500 metres, Canada's Kaylin Irvine was 18th overall, followed right behind her by teammates Anastasia Bucsis in 19th place and Danielle Wotherspoon in 20th.

In her two races, Irvine, 22, was 19th in a time of 39.33 seconds and 17th in 38.90 for a cumulative of 78.244. The 23-year-old Bucsis was 18th in her first race in 39.13 and 20th in the second in 39.24 for 78.379 points. Wotherspoon, 25, was in 21st spot after the first 500 metres (39.45 seconds) and 19th (39.04) in the second race, for a total of 78.494 points.

"I thought they (both races) were pretty good. The first one I had a big slip going into the first corner and lost a lot of speed," said Wotherspoon of her first career world single distances championship races. "I was really happy how I executed the second one (race) just staying really low and keeping my hips low. It's been about four weeks since my last World Cup race, so I was really ready to get out and get going.

"I really like it here and I'm really happy that I got to skate here and just see how the ice is," added Wotherspoon "(I'll) try to adjust my technique according to that."

South Korean Sang-Hwa Lee successfully defended her title reclaiming the gold medal. She won both races in times of 37.69 and 37.65 for 75.34 points. Beixing Wang of China won the silver medal (5th place, 38.22; 2nd, 37.81) and Russian Olga Fatkulina earned the bronze (2nd, 38.14; 3rd 37.94). Fatkulina also won gold in the 1,000 metres.

In the men's team pursuit, Toronto's Jordan Belchos, Lucas Makowsky of Regina and Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., finished seventh in a time of 3:49.00. The Netherlands won the gold medal in 3:42.03. South Korea claimed the silver medal (3:44.60) and Poland had bronze (3:45.22).

Tracking behind the Netherlands in the final pair for the silver medal in the women's team pursuit, Ivanie Blondin, Christine Nesbitt and Brittany Schussler finished in eighth place after Nesbitt fell in the last turn. The Dutch repeated as world champions, winning in a time of 3:00.02, with Poland taking the silver medal (3:04.91) and South Korea bronze (3:05.32).

"We had some individual athlete all-time best career performances (at these championships)," said Sean Ireland, SSC's long track program director, "but the not the number of medals performances we're accustom to having with the team.

"I think overall as a team we're fairly disappointed with our results," added Ireland. "We were certainly hoping for more medals out of the is weekend, more podium performances than we achieved. But all in all I think it's a good experience for the athletes to come here and get used to the ice, and get acclimatized to what the Olympics will look like and be like in 10 months from now."

Representing Canadian officials was Hans Terstappen of Calgary. Terstappen served as a starter for the men's races.