Ending the Season in Style at Canada Cup #4

After recording the best Canadian time in the first leg of the 500m event, Danielle Wotherspoon (Red Deer, Alberta) did it again today in the event’s second leg. It was day 3 of the Canada Cup #4 long track speed skating competition, taking place at the Olympic Oval in Calgary. The day was also highlighted by another excellent performance by Laurent Dubreuil (Lévis, QC), who continues to impress this season.

Wotherspoon imposed her will in the 500m with a time of 38.57, edging out second place finisher Tamara Oudenaarden (St. Albert, AB) by two hundredths of a second. Anastasia Bucsis (Calgary, AB) finished 3rd in 38.82.

“The competition is always intense between Tamara, Anastasia and I. In the end I had a really good race, and it was enough to win,” explained Wotherspoon, who occupied the 4th overall spot in Canada Cup standings before this weekend’s competition began.

“My goal for this competition was to just perform well. I wanted to really focus on each race, but at the same time be very aggressive. By winning both 500m races, I scored lots of points, which means I inch closer to my goal of locking up a spot on the national team for next year, “ concluded the skater who also finished 5th in the 1000m, Saturday.

On the men side, in addition to registering a new personal best and Canadian junior record, Laurent Dubreuil won the second leg of the 500m on the program. Dubreuil, who currently sits 12th in the Canada Cup standings in this discipline, clocked in at 34.96 to beat out his closest rival, Gilmore Junio (Calgary, AB), who crossed the line in a time of 35.16. In third place came Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB), who crossed the line in 35.25.

“It was the race of my dreams,” beamed Dubreuil, who finished second in the distance at the World Junior Championships just three weeks ago. “I had a good start and a good first turn. After that, I had an excellent straightaway which gave me the opportunity to end the race on a strong note.”

The 18-year-old athlete, who recorded a time of 35.04 in the first leg of the competition, Thursday, lowered the Canadian Junior record once again today. “Over the last few races, I’ve really started to realize my potential. It was the last event of the season and I wanted to give everything I had,” explained Dubreuil, who sliced 8 hundredths of a second off his previous record time.

A nice end to the season

In the women’s 1000m, Tamara Oudernaarden registered the best time, a clocking of 1:16.19. Currently in 7th spot in the Canada Cup standings, Oudernaarden beat out her closest rival Sarah Gregg (Edmonton, AB) by 63 hundredths, as Gregg clocked a time of 1:16.82. Anastasia Bucsis completed the podium with a time of 1:16.93.

“It was a great way to finish the season for me. I had a really good race where everything seemed to be working. After the 500m today I wasn’t really happy with my performance, so to make up for it, I really put everything on the line in the 1000m,” illustrated Oudernaarden, who finished 3rd in the first leg of the 1000m on Friday.

In the men’s 1000m, Jamie Gregg was the fastest skater of the day, crossing the line in a time of 1:08.32. Teammate Laurent Dubreuil finished with the second best time, a clocking of 1:08.87, while Richard MacLennan (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) came in third with a time of 1:09.06.

“I didn’t have a very good race in the 500m. I wanted to come out in my last race of the year and really concentrate, making sure I had a solid 1000m, “ explained Gregg, who currently sits second in this distance in the Canada Cup standings.

As for Laurent Dubreuil, he put an end to his season by achieving a new World Junior record in sprint points (two 500m and two 1000m races) with a total of 139,245 sammelagt points, just below the official mark belonging to Dutch skater Beorn Nijenhuis (139,750 points). This record will however not be ratified as the four races of the Canadian skater were held over a three day period instead of two.

The competition that will put an end to this year’s long track speed skating season ends tomorrow, with the presentation of both the men and women 1500m.