Fifth Place for Morrison & Nesbitt at World Single Distance Championships

Team Canada had another big day on the ice on Day Two of the World Single Distance Championships in Inzell, Germany – a competition which marks the end of the international 2010-2011 long track speed skating season. Noteworthy performances include Christine Nesbitt’s fifth place finish it the women’s 1500m event, and Denny’s Morrison’s fifth place in the men’s 1000m race.

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) – Canada’s current long track queen - skated to fifth place in a time of 1:57.83. While today’s results may fall short of her record this season, no one can argue that the Canadian skater has more than earned her upcoming rest, after an impressive campaign of seemingly endless wins and podiums, including four World Cup gold medals and two bronze medals in the distance, a second place finish in the overall World Cup standings in the distance, and a World Sprint Championship title – to name but a few of her exploits this season alone!

“In terms of today’s race, Christine skated to win but she couldn’t quite do it today. It’s commendable really; she attacked it like crazy and she was excited to race. She had a super fast first lap and then I think she faded in the last laps – physically, she just wasn’t quite as strong or as rested as a few weeks ago,” commented Sean Ireland, Speed Skating Canada’s Long Track Program Director.

Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) capped off her season with a seventh place finish in 1:58.53, following just behind her was Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) in eighth place with a time of 1:58.77. Schussler had previously podiumed in the distance, skating to a bronze medal at the Hamar (Norway) World Cup. “Given where Brittany and Cindy were even just last week, this week they were skating much stronger at the oval,” offered Ireland. “Don’t forget that the girls still have some big races coming up to get excited about and to gear up for!” he concluded enthusiastically.

The podium in the women’s 1500m was a sweep for the Netherlands, who managed to snap up all three steps: Ireen Wust earned the gold medal in 1:54.80, Diane Valkenburg skated to silver in 1:56.27, and Jorien Voorhuis took the bronze in 1:57.30.

Three top-15 in Men’s 1000m

Denny Morrison (Fort St.John, BC) skated to fifth place of the men’s 1000m race in 1:08.92, after finishing in the same position in yesterday’s 1500m event. Philippe Riopel (Lachenaie, QC) crossed the line in 1:09.71 – good for tenth, very impressive for the young skater who is racing in his first World Single Distance Championships. Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) brings the season to a close with a strong finish in the 1000m event – 14th in a time of 1:09.93.

“Phil [Riopel] was super pleased, he had a really strong race!” commented Long Track Program Director Sean Ireland. “Denny also had a strong race, but perhaps skated a bit conservatively – though he also posted the fastest last lap in the event – he was really quite close to a podium,” added Ireland.

The event was won by American skater Shani Davis in 1:08.45; the silver and bronze medals went to Dutch skaters; Kjeld Nuis skated the distance in 1:08.67 for silver, while Stephan Groothuis skated to bronze in a time of 1:08.73.

Fresh off the podium from yesterday’s first-ever individual distance bronze medal win in the men’s 1500m event, Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) took to the ice once again for the men’s 5000m event, skating to 21st place in 6:37.57.

The Netherlands’ Bob de Jong took the last gold medal in the 5000m event this season with a time of 6:15.41. Coming in for silver was Korea’s Seung-Hoon Lee who crossed the line in 6:17.45, while Russia’s Ivan Skobrev skated to bronze in 6:17.47.

Skaters take to the ice Saturday for the men’s 10 000m event, as well as the women’s 1000m and 5000m events. Sunday two sets of the men’s and women’s 500m races will take place, in addition to the men’s and women’s Team Pursuits.