Kristina Groves wins 1,500m & claims World Cup title

Kristina Groves of Ottawa was a double winner on Saturday earning gold in the women’s 1,500 metres at the World Cup Finals in long track speed skating. With the victory, Groves takes the season title at the distance for a third straight winter.

Groves’ winning time was 1:58.15. Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg snared the bronze in in 1:58.60, Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg was 14th in 2:00.20 and Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., 15th in 2:00.66 to finish second in the World Cup standings.

‘’I was motivated more than ever because I knew the World Cup title was within my reach,’’ said Groves. ‘’It was a hard race and this title shows I’ve been consistent and among the best at this distance through the season.’’ The 33-year-old Groves said her times were slower than the World Cup held here earlier this season.

She wasn’t surprised with her result. ‘’Consistency is what best defines my career,’’ she said. ‘’I don’t have many highs and lows in my results. It is hard to be consistent all season long but I’ve achieved that in my career, both in my results and my progression.’’

Schussler takes fourth spot overall and had mixed feeling about her race. She was pleased to be on the podium. ‘’I’ve been strong physically but emotionally it’s been difficult lately,’’ Schussler said. ‘’Now I feel I’m back on the saddle and I’m trying to have fun rather than dwell on what happened at the Olympic Games,” finished the skater whose performance in Vancouver was hampered in the 1500m because of technical difficulties just before her race.

‘’I’m relieved that I’m still a good skater,’’ she added with a laugh. ‘’To have a disappointing experience doesn’t erase all the work we’ve done in the past. It seems easy to say but when you are an athlete you can’t take it personally. Therefore I’m proud to have bounced back from that.’’

In the men’s 500m, Jamie Gregg of Edmonton was ninth in 35.76 and Kyle Parrott of Minnedosa, Man., 14th in 36.70. In the men’s 5,000m, Lucas Makowsky of Regina was 13th in 6:35.93.

Competition ends Sunday.