Morrison & Junio Canada’s top skaters at World Cup

Denny Morrison and Gilmore Junio Canada’s top skaters at World Cup in China

HARBIN, China
– On the last day of competition of the fall long track World Cups, Denny Morrison and Gilmore Junio were Canada’s top skaters today both finishing in fifth place in the 1,000- and 500-metre races, respectively, at the Heilongjiang Provincial Speed Skating Oval in Harbin, China. (ISU results website)

The Essent ISU World Cup circuit resumes at the Olympic Oval in Calgary on Jan. 19 and 20 (host committee website). This competition will again feature the 500- and 1,000-metre sprint distances. Tickets are available online at http://www.speedsk8.ca/tickets.html.

For a second consecutive day and race, Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., took fifth place in men’s 1,000 metres even though, in a time of 1:10.17, he skated 11 one hundredths of a second faster than his first race. The same three skaters returned to the podium today, but on different steps. Samuel Schwarz of Germany stepped up from bronze to gold today with a time 1:09.69. American Shani Davis stepped down from gold to silver with a time 1:09.87 and Hein Otterspeer of the Netherlands took the bronze medal in 1:09.92 – a quarter of a second faster than Morrison.

Also skating in the 1,000 metres division A, Edmonton’s Jamie Gregg was 14th in 1:11.41, and Philippe Riopel of Lachenaie, Que., took 19th place in 1:12.37. In men’s 1,000 metres division B, Calgary’s Gilmore Junio earned the bronze medal with a third place finish in 1:12.37.

In the men’s 500 metres division A, Junio was 12 one hundredths of a second away from the bronze medal when he stopped the clock at 35.39 seconds. This was his fourth top 10 finish this season. Japan’s Joji Kato won the gold medal in 34.94 seconds, followed by Dutch skaters Ronald Mulder (35.21) and Jan Smeekens (35.27) for silver and bronze. Gregg was 14th in a time of 35.72 seconds, and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., was 19th (35.90).

In the women’s 1,000 metres division A, Calgary’s Anastasia Bucsis took 14th place in 1:19.37 and Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., was 24th in 1:21.72. Yesterday’s gold and silver medallists reversed their positions today. Hong Zhang of China was first in a time of one minute and 16.717 seconds and Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic came in second place in 1:16.718, in a photo-finish one thousandth of a second behind Zhang. Russian skater Olga Fatkulina was the bronze medal winner in 1:17.12.

In the women’s 500 metres division A, Bucsis was 19th in a time of 39.63 seconds, while in division B, Wotherspoon crossed the finish line in 40.04 seconds for fourth spot.

In the men’s 500 metres division B, William Dutton of Humboldt, Sask., finished in ninth place in a time of 36.14 seconds and Morrison was 15th in 36.67 seconds.

Canada’s top long track skaters are back in action from Thursday, Jan. 3 to Sunday, Jan. 6 at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, for the Canadian Single Distances Championships and Canada Cup #2. The championships are the selection competition for the four winter World Cup competitions and the 2013 World Sprint Championships.

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 30th medal came from Denny Morrison (silver in the 1,000 metres at the World Cup in Nagano, Japan). The Regina Speed Skating Club will receive $1,000 from the program.