Wotherspoon wins third straight gold in 500 at speed skating World Cup

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., won his third straight race this season in the men’s 500-metres then added a silver the 1,000 Saturday to open the second stop on the long track speed skating World Cup for the sprinters.

Meanwhile Olympic champion Catriona Le May Doan of Saskatoon rebounded from a frightening fall in training Friday to win the bronze in the women’s 500.

In the men’s 500, Wotherspoon clocked 35.43 seconds and has won all three World Cup races in the distance this season. Joji Kato of Japan was second in 36.63 and his compatriot Hiroyasu Shimizu, the world record holder, was third in 35.70.

"I’m happy to start the season on a strong note," said Wotherspoon, the defending World Cup champion in both the 500 and 1,000. "It shows that I should be able to go a lot faster later this season. For example today I didn’t have the best start and it took me a few strides to get going. But I had a great lap and that played a big part in my win."

James Monson of Winnipeg was 17th. In the B group race, Éric Brisson of Ste-Foy, Que., was 10th, Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., 14th and Sterling Sobczak of Winnipeg 15th.

In the men’s 1,000, Erben Wennmars of the Netherlands was the winner in 1:10.16. Wotherspoon earned his first medal this season in the event clocking second in 1:10.36 and Gerard Van Velde of the Netherlands was third in 1:10.74.

Parker was 11th and Kevin Marshall of Coquitlam, B.C., 15th. In the B group race Sobczak was ninth. Mike Ireland of Winnipeg, who is struggling with a groin injury, was in the B race but fell in the first 200 metres and didn’t finish.

In the women’s 500, Monique Garbrecht-Endfeldt of Germany took the gold in 38.45 with her compatriot Jenny Wolf second in 39.01 and Le May Doan third in 39.03.

Le May Doan, who is still recovering from a month-long back injury, caught an edge in training Friday and crashed hard into the mats. She hurt her back, neck and shoulder, but was well enough to race.

"I was very tentative and I didn’t trust the ice," said Le May Doan. "I got the off the line well but I didn’t settle down. I went into the corners scared and you just can’t do that. It was a battle and all I wanted to do is make it to the finish line. It was frustrating."

Krisy Myers was 20th and in the B race Kim Weger of Regina ninth.

Garbrecht-Endfeldt also won the 1,000 with Le May Doan eighth and Weger 19th.Myers was 10th in the B race.

Competition ends Sunday.