Jeremy Wotherspoon wins remarkable gold medal in 1,000 metres at long track speed skating world sprint championships

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., raced in the second pair of the day in the men’s 1,000 metres then watched 46 racers fail to match his time for the gold medal at the long track speed skating world sprint championships.

Wotherspoon clocked 1:09.67 seconds finishing ahead of Yevgeny Lalenkov of Russia in second at 1:09.78 and Shani Davis of the U.S., third in 1:09.81. Brock Miron of Calgary was 13th and Jean-René Bélanger of Sherbrooke, Que., 26th.

‘’On the first and second turn I made some mistakes but other than that I skated really smooth and at the end I maintained my speed pretty well,’’ said Wotherspoon. ‘’ I was a little surprised to win though because I did a similar time to yesterday’s and that put me in fifth. A lot of people were tired in that last race. Certainly I've never had to wait that long to find out I won a race because I’m never that early in the pairs.’’

Sunday’s victory was also Wotherspoon’s last race before the Olympic Games next month where he’ll be one of Canada’s top medal hopes.

‘’It’s a big confidence boost to get the win,’’ he said. ‘’And it’s good to know I still could have done a few things that would have made it an even better time.’’

Joey Cheek of the U.S., won Sunday’s 500 and took first place overall with 139.990 points over four races. The competitors also raced a 500 and 1,000-metre on Saturday and the combined times from the four races determined the final overall standings. Medals are also awarded to the top-three in each individual race.

Dmitry Dorofeyev of Russia was second overall at 140.365 and Jan Bos of the Netherlands third at 140.420.

Miron was 15th overall, Bélanger 33rd while Wotherspoon botched his 500 race on Saturday to knock himself out of the running in the overall standings. Wotherspoon was also seventh in Sunday’s 500. It’s the first time in eight world sprint championships that Wotherspoon hasn’t cracked the top-three overall. He’s a four-time world sprint overall champion.

On the women’s side, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg cracked the top-10 overall for the first time in her four career appearances at the world sprints, placing ninth.

Svetlana Zhurova of Russia won both the 500 and 1,000-metre races on Sunday to take the overall crown with 153.625 points. Manli Wang of China was second overall at 154.200 and Chiara Simionato of Italy was third at 154.450.

Rempel, 21, posted her best result this weekend in Sunday’s 1,000-metre finishing seventh 1:17.43. In the 500, she was 15th.

‘’My 1,000 went pretty well,’’ said Rempel. ‘’I had a good lap and the opener was faster than on Saturday. Technically I feel really good on the ice. Getting into the top-10 overall is very satisfying considering I was standing 15th heading into today’s 1,000. I feel confident my Olympic preparation is right on target.’’

Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., was 20th overall and Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., 27th.