A golden Sunday for Christine Nesbitt

Skaters from Canada’s long track speed skating team ended the World Cup in Calgary brilliantly, on Sunday, as they captured a total of four medals: two gold, one silver, and one bronze.

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) once again dominated in the 1000m event. The 24-year old athlete really stood out, remaining unbeaten in this event since the beginning of the season. She clocked in at 1:14.03, just ahead of Annette Gerritsen (1:14.48) from the Netherlands and Monique Angermüller (1:14.68) from Germany.

Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON, 1:14.83) finished 4th and Britanny Schussler (Winnipeg, MB, 1:16.29) 18th.

Canada's Team Pursuit athletes celebrating their World Record, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
A few moments later, Nesbitt came shining through once again, this time during the Team Pursuit, skating with Groves and Schussler. In addition to winning the event ahead of Japan (2:59.70) and Germany (3:00.25), the Canadians set a world record with their time of 2:55.79.

“This is a very good day!” declared Nesbitt. “I had a specific time in mind for the 1000m event, but, first and foremost, I wanted to win the race, because when I aim at a time that is too precise, I don’t skate in the present moment. Even if I experienced a few minor problems concentrating fully, I had a very good race.”

The skater from London had very little time between her individual race and the Team Pursuit event, as she had to take part in the awards ceremony for the 1000m event.

“It was hard and I was slightly more tired than usual, except that both of my teammates were so strong that they were able to help me. And to break the world record, it’s really cool!”

In the Men’s event, Denny Morrison (Fort St-John, CB) came in third, with a time of 1:07.77. American skater Shani Davis (1:06.91) won first spot, followed by Korean Kyou-Hyuk Lee (1:07.61). This is Morrison’s second individual medal this weekend, as he also finished third in the 1500m event, which took place on Friday.

Albertan Jamie Gregg, from Edmonton, and Kyle Parott (Minnedosa, MB), respectively finished the race 11th and 13th, with times of 1:08.33 and 1:08.88.

In the Men’s Team Pursuit, Morrison, Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) and Mathieu

Canada's male team pursuit in action, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
Giroux (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) clocked in at 3:39.17, which was good enough for the second spot. The gold went to the team from the Netherlands (3:38.05), whereas the Norwegian team (3:41.59) took the bronze.

“Things are improving in the 1000m event and I can skate even better at the end of my race, which would allow me to climb even higher on the podium, indicated Morrison. If I compare my times per lap, my first laps in both the 1000m and the 1500m events are identical, except that my second lap in the 1500m event is faster than my second lap in the 1000m event. This means that I still had energy, and that disappoints me slightly. It’s a problem I want to take care of.”

“The Team Pursuit was a very good race. We know our strengths and weaknesses. The chemistry among the guys is present and we’ve got the results to show for it. Our goal, now, is to skate together at the Olympic Games. ”

The athletes will now be heading for Salt Lake City, where the season’s fifth World Cup is set to begin on Friday.

Other Canadian results

Men’s 1000m, Division B
Jeremy Wotherspoon (Red Deer, AB), 2nd, 1:08.22
François-Olivier Roberge (Saint-Nicolas, QC), 7th, 1:09.28

Women’s 1000m, Division B
Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB), 4th, 1:16.20
Justine L’Heureux (Saint-Tite, QC), 20th, 1:19.16