Groves Gets Silver at World All-Round Championships

Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) proved yet again how versatile a skater she is, with an impressive first place finish in the women’s 1500m event, and a silver medal in the women’s final classification, on the last day of the World All-Round Championships, in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) also skated well, posting a ninth place overall final ranking. Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK), the only Canadian man on the ice today, skated to 10th place in the 10 000m event, and to an overall final classification of ninth.

Day 3 of the World All-Round Championships began with the women’s 1500m event, where Canadian women shone with two top-ten finishes. Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON), skated to first place in the distance in a time of 1:56.24. “This was one of my best 1500m races of the season; my last lap was actually awesome! I skated really well technically, and I’m really pleased with the way things went,” commented the silver medallist in the 1500m event at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Brittany Schussler also had a great race, with a sixth place finish in a time of 1:58.28. Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) put in a skate good for 16th place (2:00.26); and Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB) came in 24th (2:04.40).

Finishing behind Groves was the Netherland’s Ireen Wust in second (1:56.86), and the Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova in third (1:57.23).

Groves, Schussler, and Klassen all took to the ice for the 5000m event, where Groves once again earned a fourth place finish in a time of 7:02.16. Repetition was a theme this weekend for the native of Ottawa, Ontario as Saturday saw her place fourth in two events, putting a medal in her sights for the final rankings. The culmulation of Groves’ weekend of excellent skating earned her the silver medal overall, behind winner Martina Sablikova by a mere half a point - last year at the same competition, Groves was also the silver medallist behind Sablikova.

“I knew that the six second gap (that separated Groves from Sablikova) was going to be a bit of a challenge to keep, but honestly, this 5000m was my best, possibly the fastest race for me in the distance this year,” Groves mused. Speaking about the weekend as a whole she added, “Everytime the gun went off I wanted to race, and race well, so I knew what I came here to do.”

Klassen had a solid skate in the 5000m distance, coming in for ninth place and stopping the clock at 7:11.03; Schussler was just behind her teammate, and grabbed 11th in 7:13.68. In the final classification, Schussler took ninth place, while Klassen came in 11th, and Garrido was 24th.

The 5000m event was won by the Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova (6:50.98), who was followed by two German skaters – Stephanie Beckert in second (6:55.30) and Daniela Anshutz Thoms (6:59.63) in third. Sablikova won gold in the overall women’s classification, while Ireen Wust took the bronze in the final rankings.

Now that the long track season is officially over, Groves is looking forward to some down-time. “It’s kind of like the Olympics were a dream; as soon as they were over, we were headed to Europe for the rest of the World Cups. I haven’t really had any time to appreciate the Olympics because I haven’t been able to share it with people yet – I want to go back and do that; that’s what I’m looking forward to doing,” she remarked.

Makowsky in Ninth Overall

In sixth place overall prior to the final men’s race of the weekend, Makowsky was the sole Canadian to skate the 10 000m, where he was paired with the U.S.A.’s Trevor Marsicano. Makowsky completed the race in a time of 13 :54.63 – good for tenth place, and most importantly good enough to earn him a ninth place finish in the overall men’s classification, just as he had planned.

The Netherland’s Sven Kramer won the 10 000m event (12:57.97), Norway’s Havard Bokko took second place in (13 :12.13) and Ted-Jan Bloeman skated to third (13 :13.56). Kramer’s win enabled him to grab the gold medal in the overall men’s classification; the U.S.A.’s Jonathan Kuck earned himself a silver, and Norway’s Havard Bokko got the bronze medal.

Mathieu Giroux (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) finished the World All-Round Championships with a final classification of 14th; Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK) came in 19th overall, and Jeff Kitura (Langley, B.C.) completed the weekend in 21st place.