Christine Nesbitt – Pleasantly Surprised by Her Success

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) is now ‘two for two’ after having won her second 1500m long track gold medal in the World Cup this Friday in Berlin.

A dominant force in last Sunday’s race at the World Cup in Heerenveen the Netherlands, Nesbitt, current Olympic Champion of the 1000m event, conquered the field on Friday in Germany, besting Norway’s Ida Njatun as well as the Netherlands’ Ireen Wust by 96 one-hundredths of a second, and 1.90 seconds, respectively.

Also similar to last weekend’s 1500m race, Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) took fourth in a time of 1:59.14, followed by Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB), in fifth place in 1:59.15. Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) crossed the line in 2:00.54 – good for 11th place, while Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) took 13th in 2:00.79.

Nesbitt has now won three of the seven World Cup events she’s skated this year, and has always finished in the top ten. In Heerenveen last weekend, Nesbitt won both the 1000m and 1500m events.

“I’m really surprised! I didn’t think I’d have such a good start to the season,” admitted Nesbitt, acknowledging the challenges she thought were before her with a change of coach (she now trains with Xiuli Wang) and her broken elbow this summer.

Despite a healthy advance on her opponents, the Ontario native doesn’t feel like she’s mastering the race quite yet, “I don’t feel like I had a perfect race. Since I don’t have precise goals right now, maybe that makes it easier for me to skate well,” ventured Nesbitt, who also finished ninth in Friday’s 500m event.

One possible explanation for Nesbitt’s victories is the fact that this is a post-Olympic season, when many athletes reduce their training load, or take a complete break. “A lot of athletes have started training a lot later this year, and perhaps some aren’t as motivated this season either.”

In the overall World Cup rankings for the 1500m event, Nesbitt is at the top, followed by Wust and Klassen. The Netherlands’ Marrit Leenstra is fourth, and Schussler is fifth.

Positive Results in the 500m Event

In the 500m event, two athletes achieved top-ten performances – an excellent result that hasn’t occurred often in recent years. Nesbitt finished ninth thanks to her time of 39.08, while Rempel earned tenth place, crossing the line in 39.09. Anastasia Bucsis (Calgary, AB) finished 19th with 39.62.

Friday, Vincent Labrie (Saint-Romuald, QC) came 14th in the 500m with a time of 35.50 – the best result for Canada’s men. Also racing the 500m was Gilmore Junio (Calgary, AB), who finished 18th in a time of 35.83.

In the same distance in Group B, William Dutton (Humboldt, SK) came fourth in 35.80, Muncef Ouardi (Charlesbourg, QC) finished fifth in 35.82, and Richard MacLennan (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), rounded out the results with 17th place in a time of 36.33.

In the 5000m event, also in Group B, Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) took the win, crossing the line in 6:25.55; Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK) finished tenth in 6:40.10, while Leo Landry (Chelsea, QC) earned 14th place with his time of 6:41.33.

Had Makowsky been racing with Group A athletes, today’s result would have placed him ninth; Makowsky will get his chance race with that group during the next 5000m event at a World Cup.

Saturday, the women will take on the second set of 500m event, and also skate the 3000m event, while the men will skate their second set of 500m races, as well as the 1500m event.