Jamie Gregg & Shannon Rempel Canadian Champions in the 500m

It is in front of a crowd of nearly 1200 supporters that the speed skating Canadian Single Distance Championships started today in Richmond, BC. Thanks to a dynamic performance, Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) climbed on the highest step of the podium in the women's 500m. On the men side, Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) was the gold medalist in the same distance with a cumulative time of 71.30 seconds.

Kyle Parrott (St-Albert, AB) came in second to win silver with a cumulative time of 71.33 seconds, while Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, CB) finished 0.07 behind Jamie Gregg to take third place.

"There was a lot people watching the race today. It’s exciting to skate in front of such a big crowd and to have the people behind you. I enjoyed the crowd's cheering. It really gets me going," explained Kyle Parrott. "I still have to work on my race opener. I had a bit of a slip in the first 70m of one of my races. But overall things went very well. I am satisfied with my time."

The race was very close on the women's side. Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) climbed onto the second step of the podium with a cumulative time of 78.46 seconds, only 0.02 seconds behind Shannon Rempel. Kim Weger (Regina, Sk) was awarded the bronze medal, thanks to a global time of 79.59 seconds.

"Today was my first competition of the season. I took some time off this fall to concentrate on my studies. I didn't know what to expect when I arrived here. I was not sure of where I was compared to other skaters. But from the first race, the ice was feeling good. Towards the end of my second race, I could really feel the fatigue but it all turned out well. I am very happy of my performance" commented Kim Weger.

The competitions continues until December 31. Tomorrow the men will race the 5000m and the women the 3000m.