Jamie Gregg & Denny Morrison take the bronze

Jamie Gregg and Denny Morrison each took a bronze medal on Friday, at the long track speed skating World Cup in Calgary. In the women’s event, Kristina Groves came close to adding a medal to the Canadian harvest, but she missed the bronze medal in the 3000m event by 4 hundredths of a second.

Gregg, from Edmonton, won the bronze in the 500m event with a personal best time of 34.45, the same time as the silver medalist, Japanese skater Joji Kato. The officials had to view the photo-finish to determine the rank of both skaters and, finally, the Japanese was ahead 6 thousandths of a second. Mika Poutala (34.38), from Finland, was the fastest.

“It’s a nice surprise. I learned I was one of the medalists as I was putting my skates away. I certainly won’t complain about it! My opening was very good, except that I still have a lot of work to do if I want to stand on the highest step of the podium, more specifically, by improving my turns”, explains the skater who has just achieved his first ever World Cup podium.

In the same event, Kyle Parrott (Minnedosa, AB, 34.83) finished 13th, while Mike Ireland (Winnipeg, MB), Vincent Labrie (Saint-Romuald, QC) and Muncef Ouardi (Charlesbourg, QC) respectively finished 1st, 3rd and 15th in Division B.

Despite a double victory by Americans Chad Hedrick (1:42.14) and Shani Davis (1:42.19) in the 1500m event, Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, B.C.) took the third spot with a time of 1:42.74. Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK, 1:44.09) finished 10th and Mathieu Giroux (Montréal, QC, 1:44.64) 15th.

“It’s a step in the right direction, and it’s a lot better than my last race in Heerenveen (Netherlands)”, declared Morrison. I skated as well as I had been able to in the past. I am 95% satisfied, and I have never skated so fast at this time of year. However, if this is how I skate in February (at the Olympic Games), I will not be satisfied. I will be even stronger in February, because my last lap will be even faster. ”

At the women’s 3000m event, Kristina Groves (3:58.11) skated with Daniela Anschütz Thoms, from Germany, who outskated her by only 4 hundredths of a second, which was just enough to leave the Canadian skater at the foot of the podium. The gold medal was awarded to Stephanie Beckert, from Germany (3:56.80), while Czech skater Martina Sablikova (3:56.83) took second place. Britanny Schussler (Winnipeg, MB, 4:03.22) finished 8th, Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB, 4:03.48) 9th and Clara Hughes (Glenn Sutton, QC, 4:03.70) 11th.

“Each time you achieve a personal best, you’re having a good day. The gap which separates me from the first place is very small, so I am satisfied. I know that I can improve on several aspects of my skating, especially on my turns”, added Groves, who was celebrating her 33rd birthday.

The competition continues until Sunday.

Other Canadian results

Women’s 500m, Division A
Christine Nesbitt (London, ON), 15th, 38.35 s

Women’s 500m, Division B
Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB), 5th, 38.44 s
Anastasia Bucsis (Calgary, AB), 10th, 38.64 s
Tamara Oudenaarden (St-Albert, AB), 18th, 38.95 s
Justine L'Heureux (Saint-Tite, QC), 27th, 39.82 s

Men’s 1500m, Division B
Steven Elm (Red Deer, AB), 5th, 1:45.50
Mykola Makowsky (Regina, SK), 17th, 1:47.33

Women’s 3000m, Division B
Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB) 10th, 4:09.78