Denny Morrison back onto the podium

Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) came away with the bronze medal in the 1000m, Saturday, at the World Cup long track speed skating Men’s competition presented in Obihiro, Japan. In the Women’s Competition, Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) raced her best times of the season, taking fifth place in the 1000m.

Thanks to a time of 1:10.39, Morrison won his very first individual medal of the season. American Shani Davis won the race in a time of 1:09.56, beating out silver medalist Korean Kyou-Hyuk Lee who finished in 1:09.80.

“It’s a lot of fun being on the podium but it’s not really what I’m focusing on,” Morrison explained. “What I’m most concerned about is the way I skate, and today I felt that things went quite well. I’m trying to be strong technically and tactic-wise, and it worked out well.”

Morrison is the only member of Team Canada to have taken part in every World Cup competition since the beginning of the season. “Being that it’s a post-olympic year, I didn’t train that intensely this summer, so it’s been a work in progress lately,” he explained. “We have a young, up-and-coming team this year, so it really gives a lot of energy to everyone. It’s pretty amazing to watch them skate because you can see how much potential they have. It’s neat to be a veteran like this, where I feel I’m in the position to be able to help them out. Personally, I’m still passionate about skating.”

In the group A competition, Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) finished with a time of 1:10.88, good for 12th position, while Richard MacLennan (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) finished 20th with a time of 1:14.52. In the B group, Gilmore Junio (Calgary, AB) and William Dutton (Humboldt, SK) finished 7th and 13th, respectively, with times of 1:12.40 and 1:13.61.

On the women’s side, Rempel came away with her best result of the season in the 1000m, good enough for a 5th place finish. She clocked a time of 1:17.96, a result that was only nine one hundredths of a second behind the bronze medal winner, Korean Sang-Hwa Lee. Winning the gold was American Heather Richardson, thanks to a time of 1:16.45. Japanese skater Nao Kodaira won the silver in 1:17.33.

Also skating in group A, Anastasia Bucsis (Calgary, AB), finished the race in a time of 1:20.55, good for 21st overall.

Gregg, best Canadian in the 500m

Participating in his second World Cup competition of the season, Jamie Gregg continued his progression in the 500m. His clocking of 35.41 was good enough for a 10th place finish. Comparably, Korean Kang-Seok Lee won the event with a time of 35.11. Japanese skaters Keiichiro Nagashima and Akio Ota both navigated the course in a time of 35.16, Nagashima winning the silver in a photo finish.

Also in group A, Vincent Labrie (Saint-Romuald, QC) continued with his run of good results, showing well here with a clocking of 35.71, good for 16th place. Dutton (36.05) and Junio (36.20) finished 18th and 19th, respectively.

In Group B, skater Muncef Ouardi (Charlesbourg, QC) finished in 4th with a time of 35.89.

The skaters will go again tomorrow (Sunday) for another round of 500m and 1000m sprints.