Morrison returns for World Single Distances

Denny Morrison returns for World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships

SOCHI, Russia
- Defending 1,500-metre world champion, Denny Morrison, has been cleared to return to racing in time to compete in the 2013 ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Sochi, Russia, from March 21 to 24. The championships, taking place at the Adler Arena, are serving as a test event for the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

Morrison broke the fibula of his left leg on Dec. 22 in a cross-country skiing mishap. The native of Fort St. John, B.C., will race the 1,000 metres Friday and be available as one of the three skaters for Sunday's team pursuit.

Before the injury, the 27-year-old competed in the first five World Cups this season capturing a gold medal in the 1,000 metres on Nov. 17 in the Netherlands and silver on Dec. 9 in Japan. Competing in only five of nine 1,000-metre World Cup races, Morrison finished the season ranked sixth overall.

"I've been feeling pretty good on the ice and getting good feedback from the coaches," said Morrison after his first tempo workout in Sochi today. "Things have progressed pretty quickly and I'm feeling good overall. The 1,000 meters is where it's at for me. I've been successful in the 1,000 this season. I'm really excited to have recovered this quickly. Thanks to my support staff for getting me ready."

"We brought Denny to Sochi because we thought it was important for him to be in the Olympic environment. Over the last couple of weeks, Denny has had really good recovery. He's further ahead than we thought he would be," said Bart Schouten, who coaches Morrison along with Mike Crowe. "We don't think he has the specific skating endurance for a good 1,500 metres, but we feel in the 1,000 he's going to be pretty good and get some good experience in an Olympic environment. There's a chance that he'll race in the team pursuit Sunday as well."

The final ISU championship of the season opens Thursday, March 21 with the men’s 1,500 metres and women’s 3,000 metres. Friday, the men will skate the 1,000 and 5,000 metres, and the 1,500 metres for the women. The women have two races Saturday, the 1,000- and 5,000-metre distances, and the men have one race, the 10,000 metres. The season wraps-up Sunday with the two 500-metre races and team pursuit.