Medals for Nesbitt, Junio & Morrison at the World Cup

Nesbitt wins gold, Junio and Morrison take silver medals at the World Cup in Japan
Five clubs to receive $1,000 from Intact Insurance World Cup Podium Tracker

NAGANO, Japan
– Canadian long track team members stood on the podium four times today at the Essent ISU World Cup #4 at the Nagano Olympic Memorial Arena in Nagano, Japan. Christine Nesbitt won her fourth individual gold medal of the season while taking first place in the 1,000 metres. Gilmore Junio won his first career World Cup medal with a second place finish in the 500 metres, and Denny Morrison also earned silver in the 1,000 metres. The fourth medal on the day was gold as Junio, Tyler Derraugh and William Dutton took first place in the team sprint demonstration race.

Nesbitt, of London, Ont., brought her season medal count to six (four gold, one silver and bronze) and career tally to 63. While second in yesterday’s 1,000 metres, Nesbitt took the top podium step today in a time of one minute and 15.13 seconds. American Heather Richardson took the silver medal in 1:15.26 and Lotte van Beek of the Netherlands was third in 1:15.87. Winnipeg’s Brittany Schussler was 15th overall (1:17.89) and Anastasia Bucsis of Calgary was 19th (1:18.78).

“I was in the last pair with Heather Richardson, who won the previous two 1,000’s of the season. So I knew that she was going to be fast and she’s been skating well,” said Nesbitt. “But I felt this week that things have been coming together more and more in my own skating. So I was kind of excited. She (Richardson) was pretty far ahead with one lap to go, but I dug really deep in the last back-straightaway and I didn’t let her out of my sight. I felt like I went out for the hunt and I got her at the line, which is a really nice feeling.”

Nesbit and Bucsis also competed in the 500 metres, placing ninth (38.55 seconds) and 18th (39.08), respectively. In the women’s division B 500 metres, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was sixth (39.45) and Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., was ninth (39.71).

In the men’s 1,000 metres, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., won his second medal this season taking silver in a time of one minute 9.64 seconds. Dutch skater Hein Otterspeer won the gold medal in 1:09.20 and teammate Kjeld Nuis had the bronze (1:09.72). Tyler Derraugh of Winnipeg finished in ninth place (1:10.49) and Edmonton’s Jamie Gregg was 10th (1:10.63). Philippe Riopel of Lachenaie, Que., came 19th in a time of 1:11.63.

“The race itself went pretty. It was a lot better than yesterday’s – just a lot smoother and doing the things I want to do in the race,” said Morrison. “There’s still a lot to improve on, but I was fortunate enough to win.”

In today’s men’s 500-metre race, Calgary’s Gilmore Junio won his first career World Cup medal taking silver in a time of 35.16 seconds. Keiichiro Nagashima of Japan won the gold medal in a time of 35.14 seconds, while Jan Smeekens of the Netherlands had the bronze in 35.18. Gregg was 16th in a time of 35.48 seconds and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., was 20th (36.22).

“I’m pretty excited about my first World Cup medal and it sets out the season really nicely,” said Junio, “and I’m really excited about Harbin (next World Cup in China, Dec. 15-16) and the rest of the season.”

In the women’s 1,000 metres division B, Kaylin Irvine of Calgary won the race in a time of 1:18.55. Rempel took sixth place in 1:19.57. “The race wasn’t perfect, for sure. I felt scrappy,” said Irvine. “The technique didn’t come easy today, so I kept my aggression up and tried to keep my legs moving in the last lap.”

The World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance stands at $30,000 (8 gold, 14 silver; 8 bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win. This season’s 26th medal came from Marianne St. Gelais (bronze in the 500 m); 27th from Charles Hamelin (gold in the 500 m); 28th from Gilmore Junio (silver in the 500 m); 29th from Christine Nesbitt (gold in the 1000 m); and, 30th from Denny Morrison (silver in the 1000 m). The following clubs will each receive $1,000 from the program: the Milton Speed Skating Club, the Club de patinage de vitesse de Portneuf, the Eastman Speed Skating Club, the Club de patinage de vitesse de Montréal-Gadbois, and the Regina Speed Skating Club,

The Essent ISU World Cup #6, featuring the 500- and 1,000-metre sprint distances, will be held at the Olympic Oval in Calgary on Jan. 19 and 20. Tickets are available online at http://www.speedsk8.ca/tickets.html.