Canada wins 2 speed skating silvers

Canada has won a pair of silver medals in long track speedskating at the Winter Olympics. The Canadian men and women each finished second in the inaugural team pursuit Thursday.

Arne Dankers of Calgary, Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., and Justin Warsylewicz of Regina were beaten by the underdog Italians.

Italy finished the eight lap race in three minutes 44.46 seconds, ahead of Canada in 3:47.28.

"Just to be here was something special for our team, then we exceeded all our expectations," said Dankers.

The Netherlands beat Norway in the bronze medal race.

It was the third straight upset for the Italians, who also beat the favoured U.S. team in the quarter finals and the Netherlands in the semifinals after two of the Dutch skaters fell.

The women's team of Clara Hughes of Winnipeg, Kristina Groves of Ottawa and Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., were defeated by Germany in their final.

The German team of Anni Friesinger, Claudia Pechstein and Daniela Anschuetz lived up to its role a favourite, finishing the six lap race in 3:01.25. Canada crossed in 3:02.91.

"We did the best that we could, that's the best race we've ever done together," said Hughes. "Our goal was to get to the gold medal final and then fight it out."

Winnipeg's Cindy Klassen, a bronze medallists in the 3,000 metres earlier in the Games, skated in the semifinal but was kept out of the final due to the number of events she's entered in. She was replaced by Nesbitt.

Russia beat Japan to take bronze.

In the pursuit, two teams of three skaters start simultaneously on each side of the oval and take turns leading the team. The other skaters draft closely behind the leader, with the teams completing the race when the third skater crosses the finish line.

It's a new event at the Olympics. It made its debut at last year's world championships.

The Canadian men advanced with a win over Norway in the semifinals earlier Thursday while the women outskated Japan in their semi.

Elm replaced Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., in the men's final.

Source: Canadian Press