Groves 4th at Berlin World Cup

(Berlin, November 8th, 2008) – Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) was once again the top Canadian on the second day of competitions at the World Cup in Berlin with a fourth place finish in the ladies 3000m. For the men, the best performance belongs to Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, CB) who raced to an 8th place finish in the 1500m.

In the ladies 3000m, Kristina Groves finished 4th, only two hundredths of a second behind her Japanese rival, Masako Hozumi, who took third place. Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB), who won her first medal in a World Cup yesterday, Clara Hughes (Winnipeg, MB) and Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) took 8th, 10th and 16th place respectively. Nicole Garrido was disqualified in Division B.

In the Men 1500m, Denny Morrison, World Champion in the distance, took 8th place. His teammate Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) finished 12th while Francois-Olivier Roberge (St-Nicolas, QC) and Steven Elm (Red Deer, AB) ended in 16th and 21st place. In Division B, Jeff Kitura (Langley, CB) completed his race with an 11th place finish.

« Our approach is to build on each race and competition as the season progresses to improve. Ice conditions in Berlin make the task that much more though. But, without any doubts, the best is yet to come, » mentioned a thoughtful Denny Morrison after his race.

In the 500m, the Canadians men had again a stroke of bad luck. Unfortunately, World Champian Jeremy Wotherspoon (Red Deer, AB) fell as he was entering the last corner and factured his upper left arm, which will keep him away from competition for some time.

« What happened to Jeremy is regrettable. This injury will keep him away from competitions for weeks to come. At least there should be no need for surgery.” said Michael Crowe, Sprint National Team Coach. Crowe is confident that Wotherspoon didn’t commit any technical mistake in the turn. Ice conditions and the age of the facilities certainly had a role in the gravity of the injury. This is echoing comments made by other athletes regarding skating conditions.

Still in the 500m, Vincent Labrie (St-Romuald, QC) finished 10th in 35.41 seconds, improving his performance from yesterday. On the same distance, Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) took the 18th place while Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) ended 23rd. Speed skater Muncef Ouardi (Montréal, QC) ranged 4th in Division B, getting closer to Division A.

On the women’ side, Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) crossed the finish line 11th in the 500m. She was the lone Canadian skater in the A Group. In Division B, Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) was 2nd while teammates Tamara Oudenaarden (St-Albert, AB), Kerry Dankers (Melville, SK) and Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB) took 7th, 14th and 19th place respectively.