A Bronze-Worthy Skate for Groves in the 3000m

After having come so close to the podium in the 3000m event all season long, Kristina Groves finally took her rightful place with a bronze medal finish, Friday in the Long Track Speed Skating World Cup in Salt Lake City.

The Ottawa native skated the 3000m in a time of 3:58.67 – good for the third step on the podium. Czech skater Martina Sablikova (3:56.29) and German skater Stephanie Beckert (3:57.78) came in first and second place, respectively.

“I had a good race, and pretty consistent with the times from last week in Calgary. There was a part of my race that was better than last week, and another part that needs improvement,” analysed Groves, who turned 33 on December 4th.

Coming in fourth place twice, and fifth place once in the distance already this season, Groves was thrilled to finally earn herself a medal. “I’m happy with my performance, and it’s nice to finish a World Cup with one little step on the podium,” mused Groves, currently fourth overall in World Cup standings in the distance.

Even if Sablikova and Beckert have been keeping other skaters off the top steps of the podium this season by exchanging their places, the Canadian skater believes that the duo are not unbeatable. “They are the two to beat, but they’re not winning by 5 or 6 seconds – its more like 1, 2, or 3 seconds at the most. It’s a good place to be and you just have to enjoy the race and do the work that needs to be done,” commented the 2008 World Champion in the race distance.

Also skating in the 3000m event, Clara Hughes took eighth place. Slowed down by a lane change on the third lap, the Glen Sutton resident remained satisfied with her performance on the ice today. “Without the situation on the third lap, I think I would have been able to finish fourth, but I’m still happy with the way I reacted; I didn’t give up and I kept on fighting. I had good legs and my technique was a lot better. I was faster than last weekend by a second and a half, so that’s a good indicator. ”

Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) and Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) finished ninth and 12th respectively, clocking times of 4:03.17 and 4:04.30.

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) was the only Canadian woman skating in Division A of the 500m event; she came in 38.12, which earned her 13th place.

Denny Morrison Comes Fifth

In men’s racing, the best Canadian result came courtesy Denny Morrison (Fort St-John, CB), who took fifth place in the 1500m event. Skating in a time of 1:43.18, Morrison finished in 33 hundredths of a second to American Shani Davis, whose time of 1:41.04 marked a new world record. Chad Hedrick, also from the United States of America, took second place in 1:42.19, while Korean skater Tae-Bum Mo finished third in 1:42.85.

Lukas Makowsky (Regina, SK) and Mathieu Giroux (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) for their part took eighth and 18th places, skating to the finish line in times of 1:43.53 and 1:45.31, respectively.

In the 500m event, Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) skated to ninth in a time of 34.56; Mike Ireland (Winnipeg, MB) and Kyle Parrott (Minnedosa, MB) were 11th and 14th, with times of 34.75 and 34.89.

The World Cup in Salt Lake City continues Saturday with both women’s and men’s 500m events. The men will also take to the ice for the 5000m race, while the women will skate the 1500m event.

Other Canadian Results:

Men’s 500m, Division B
Vincent Labrie (Saint-Romuald, QC), 3rd – 35.10
Muncef Ouardi (Charlesbourg, QC), 8th– 35.36

Women’s 500m, Division B
Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB), 4th– 38.41
Anastasia Bucsis (Calgary, AB), 14th – 38.92
Tamara Ouedenaarden (St-Albert, AB), 17th – 39.02
Justine L’Heureux (Saint-Tite, QC), 28th – 40.41

Women’s 3000m, Division B
Justine L’Heureux (Saint-Tite, QC), 15th – 4:15.36

Men’s 1500m, Division B
Steven Elm (Red Deer, AB) 3rd – 1:45.78
Mykola Makowsky (Regina, SK) 10th – 1 :46.91