Ottawa’s Kristina Groves adds fifth event to Olympic schedule at Canada Post Single Distance Championships & Olympic team trials

Kristina Groves of Ottawa added a fifth event to her Olympic schedule on Saturday with a victory in the women’s 1,000-metres at the Canada Post Single Distance Championships and Olympic team trials in long track speed skating.

Groves clocked a personal best 1:14.99 with Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg second in 1:15.12 and Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., third in 1:15.37. Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was fourth in 1:15.49.

“It’s going to be a full slate at the Olympics,” said Groves, 29, pre-selected in the 1,500, 3,000, 5,000 and pursuit. “The 1,000 hasn’t been my priority this year but it’s an event I’ve used a lot to help me in the longer distances. I’ve had god 1,000 races all year and I love the event because it’s nice and short. You can just hammer the whole thing. I was nervous before the race but I had my best ever first lap.”

In the men’s 1,000, Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., was the winner in 1:08.02 edging Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., second in 1:08.03 while Francois-Olivier Roberge of St-Nicolas, Que., was third in 1:08.67 and Steven Elm of Red Deer fourth in 1:08.80.

Roberge is confident he’ll add his name to the Olympic team nomination list with his performance.

“I was down to my last chance, in my best event and everything went as planned,” said the 20-year-old Roberge. “My top speed was very strong and I was able to expense less energy thanks to some better technique. It really paid off to race on the World Cups earlier this year and even though I was pretty nervous, I kept my focus.”

Wotherspoon and Klassen had been preselected in the 1,000.

Canada can send 20 athletes (10 men and 10 women) in long track speed skating to the Olympic Games and prior to the trials nine of those spots (five men and four women) have been secured by skaters who have pre-qualified based on performances at last year’s world championships and this season’s World Cups.

Competition resumes Monday with the men’s 5,000 and women’s 3,000 metres starting at 2 p.m. local time at the Olympic Oval.

The long track team is scheduled to be officially nominated on Wednesday January 4 at a news conference at the Olympic Oval.