Morrison rebounds from 1000m fall to win 1500m at Selections while Nesbitt adds 1500m title for third victory of week

- Day three of Intact Insurance 2014 Speed Skating Team Selections

 

Denny Morrison brushed himself off after a fall in the 1000m two days earlier to win his last-chance 1500m event Thursday at the Intact Insurance 2014 Speed Skating Team Selections at the Olympic Oval. Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., won the 1500m Thursday to add to her victories in the 500m and 1000m.

 

Skaters are vying for spots on Canada’s team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

 

Morrison, who hails from Fort St. John, B.C., had a spectacular fall approaching the finish of the 1000m on Dec. 30.

 

Morrison won with a time of one minute, 45.00 seconds. Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., was second in 1:45.36, followed by Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, Ont., who was third in 1:45.40. “It’s been an interesting week for sure. It’s right up there with the most challenging weeks of my life mentally,” Morrison said. “The 1500m was my last chance and I was the last pair and there was some pretty fast times before me. Maybe a less experienced skater — like myself four years ago — would have let it get to them a bit more. But, I just knew I had to have a solid race and stay on my feet and cross the line.”

 

Giroux and De Haître are having strong Selections. Giroux won the 5000m on Dec. 28 while De Haître, at just 19 years of age, impressively captured the 1000m on Dec. 30.

 

Nesbitt’s winning skate Thursday was 1:55.74. Kali Christ of Regina was second in 1:56.21 and Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, Alta., third in 1:59.46.

 

Christ was also second behind Nesbitt in the 1000m. Tutt is arguably Speed Skating Canada’s most compelling story this season as she has recovered from a horrific on-ice crash that happened last Dec at the Oval that left her skating career in doubt.

 

“I don’t think I’ll ever been 100 per cent again,” Tutt admitted to reporters.  “I have back issues and an issue with my ear. The challenge has been the fun part, coming back from the crash and having no expectations this year.”

 

Nesbitt put in three solid skates at the Oval at her first competition since the Salt Lake City Essent ISU World Cup in mid-November.

 

“I feel strong and fit, but of course it’s different when you race. You never really know how that’s going to translate,” the 2010 Winter Olympic 1000m champion said. “I had four great races this week (counting the two 500m).”

 

Following the Olympic Qualifying competitions (Essent ISU World Cups), the Canadian long-track Olympic team currently has the ability to send 18 athletes to the Games (10 women, eight men), with the athletes to be nominated by Speed Skating Canada’s Olympic Selection Committee following the Selections and announced publicly on Jan. 22 at Calgary’s Olympic Oval.

 

Canada has four spots in women’s 1500m in Sochi and four in the men’s 1500m.

 

The selections wrap up with the women’s 5000m at 3 p.m., Mountain time, followed by the men’s 10000m at 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.

 

Canada has one quota spot in the women’s 5000m and is the first alternate country in the men’s 10000m.

 

SCHEDULE for Intact Insurance 2014 Speed Skating Team Selections:

 

Friday, Jan. 3

3 p.m.                           Women                5000m

4:30 p.m.                      Men            10000m

 

WEBCAST (live) at: http://liveresults.oval.ucalgary.ca/LiveWebcast.aspx

 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE (results): http://liveresults.oval.ucalgary.ca/