Denny Morrison wins silver medal in 1,500-metre

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., won the silver medal in the men’s 1,500 metres on Friday at the World Cup Final in long track speed skating. Morrison clocked 1:46.12 finishing behind Shani Davis of the U.S., first at 1:45.20. Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands took the bronze in 1:46.61.

Kristina Groves of Ottawa was the top Canadian woman of the day, finishing fourth in the 3,000m.

‘’I had a very good race and it was the most relaxed I’ve been all year. That helped me get my best result this season,’’ said Morrison. ‘’I was strong technically and that’s why I was fast even though I was about a second behind Shani.

‘’It’s strange because before the Olympic Games I laid out a plan to make sure everything was followed to a tee in regards to things like my meals, warm-ups and so on. This week, I was moving around, I wasn’t eating and sleeping well and still I got a good result. It’s probably because I was more relaxed. I wasn’t expecting to be on the podium. In addition to my silver medal I finished third in the 1,500 season standings, so it’s a nice way to complete the season.’’

Morrison added that he will not compete next weekend at the world all around championships, also in Heerenveen.

Also in the 1,500m, Lucas Makowsky of Regina was ninth in 1:47.35 and Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., 15th in 1:48.89.

In the men’s 500m, Jamie Gregg of Edmonton and Kyle Parrott of Minnedosa, Man., were seventh and 14th respectively.

Kristina Groves misses podium by 0.60 seconds.

In the women’s 3,000m, Groves clocked 4:08.17 and was satisfied with her race, coming very close to a medal. Olympic champion Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won the gold in 4:06.25. Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg was 10th in 4:13.51 and Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg 13th in 4:15.65.

‘’I did a pretty good race considering I only arrived here three days ago,’’ said Groves, the Olympic bronze medallist in the event in Vancouver. ‘’I’ve often finished fourth in the 3,000m this season on the World Cup Circuit.’’

With the Olympics now completed, the 33-year-old athlete feels she can have a strong finish to her season.

‘’It’s good to be back on the road and we can feel everyone is less stressed,’’ she said. ‘’So we’re savouring the moment. Obviously the motivation isn’t the same but we are training to race. Here in Heerenveen, the people love speed skating and this event is a good tune-up for the world championships.’’

Jeremy Wotherspoon forced to withdraw

Jeremy Wotherspoon wasn’t able to race in the 500m due to a groin infection he incurred last week. The multiple world champion underwent surgery a few days ago and his coach Mike Crowe confirmed Wotherspoon will officially announce his retirement on Saturday at a press conference in Heerenveen.

‘’He would have loved to race here because the Dutch know what a remarkable career he has had,’’ said Groves. ‘’He is the most decorated speed skater of all time and we appreciate what he has done for our sport.’’