Women’s pursuit & Denny Morrison earn medals for Canada at speed skating worlds

NAGANO, Japan – Kristina Groves of Ottawa collected her third medal in three days leading Canada to silver in the women’s pursuit while Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., added a bronze in the men’s 1,000 at the world single distance championships in long track speed skating.

In the women’s 2,400-metre pursuit, the Netherlands won the gold medal in 3:02.19. Canada with Groves, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg followed in 3:02.87 for a third consecutive medal in the event at the worlds. Germany took the bronze in 3:07.57.

It was Schussler’s first career world championship medal.

‘’I have to be happy with the medal,’’ said Schussler. ‘’However we wanted to win. It was close. The Dutch raced before us so we had an idea of what kind of splits we needed. We did everything we could and we’ll take the medal for sure. We knew the Dutch girls would be strong and we didn’t necessarily have the race of our lives but we stuck together as a team and that’s what got us the medal.’’

Groves also won the gold on Friday in the 3,000 and bronze Thursday in the 1,500. She now has eight career medals overall at these championships and races in two more events on Sunday.

In the men’s 1,000, Shani Davis of the U.S., successfully defended his title in 1:08.99 with Yevgeny Lalenkov of Russia second in 1:09.39 and Morrison third in 1:09.42. It was the second straight year Morrison reached the podium at the worlds in the distance. Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., the 500 winner on Friday followed in fourth at 1:09.67.

‘’To be honest I’m a little disappointed to be third this year,’’ said Morrison, who took silver in 2007. ‘’I never got good top end speed early in the race. My first lap felt fast and I skated like I always do but the speed just wasn’t there. Luckily I had a very good last lap which got me into third.’’

François-Olivier Roberge of St-Nicolas, Que., was 21st.

In the men’s 10,000, Sven Kramer of the Netherlands sailed to the win for the second straight year in 12:57.71 with Enrico Fabris of Italy second in 13:18.81 and Bob de Jong of the Netherlands third in 13:25.01.

Arne Dankers of Calgary was seventh and Justin Warsylewicz of Regina 13th.

In the women’s 500, Jenny Wolf of Germany was the victor. Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was 10th, Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., 16th and Kim Weger of Regina 21st.

Competition ends Sunday.