Klassen earns two victories, Morrison breaks Canadian junior record at Canada Post all around championships

Olympic medallist Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg showed speed and endurance on Monday with victories in the women’s 500 and 1,500 metres to open the Canada Post All Around Championships long track speed skating competition.

In the 500, Klassen clocked 38.94 seconds for the win finishing ahead of Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., second in 39.09 while Sarah Smith of Medicine Hat, Alta., was third in 39.73.

In the 1,500, Klassen prevailed again in 1:55.06 with Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg second in 1:57.24 and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg third in 1:58.81.

“I didn’t set up my last corner very well in the 500 and came out really wide,” said Klassen, with two gold and a silver in the 1,500 this season on the World Cup circuit. “In the 1,500 I started off hard which is an area I need to improve and I kind of hit the wall at the end but that’s pretty normal.”

Overall after two of four distances, Klassen has a commanding lead with 77.293 points followed by Schussler in second at 79.643 and Myers third at 80.263.

In men’s competition, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., quickly reclaimed his Canadian junior in the 1,500 clocking 1:47.32. Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., was second in 1:47.62 and world junior champion Justin Warsylewicz of Regina third in 1:47.64. Warsylewicz’s time initially lowered Morrison’s previous best of 1:47.79 set last season.

“I knew going into my pair that Justin had broken the record,” said Morrison, who’s also preparing for the world juniors later this season. “There was definitely some motivation there to get it back. I opened really fast and tried to hang on as much as possible to the speed. I had a lot of steam left on the last lap.”

In the 500, James Monson of Winnipeg was the winner in 35.90 with Eric Brisson of Ste-Foy, Que., second in 36.07 and Jean-René Bélanger of Sherbrooke, Que., third in 36.21.

Overall after two distances, Morrison leads at 72.293 followed by Bélanger at 72.596 and Elm at 72.643.

Besides Canadian titles, the speed skaters are also competing for spots for the final two World Cup events this season and the Continental Championships set for January 8-9 which is a world championship qualifier.

Competition continues through to Wednesday.