Klassen Fifth, Morrison Fourth in Salt Lake City

Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) was Canada’s fastest woman on the ice today, skating to yet another strong fifth place finish in the women’s 5000m event, on day one of the Salt Lake City World Cup. In the men’s 1500m event, Denny Morrison (Fort St. John BC) remains within striking distance of the podium – finising fourth, today at the oval.

Cindy Klassen earned the best Canadian result in the challenging 5000m event, skating to fifth place in a time of 6:55.98. After last year’s struggles post double-knee surgery, Klassen continues to steadily progress this World Cup season, with today’s result marking a watershed, “It’s been a long time since she’s skated that fast, it was a really good time,” commented National Long Track Coach Bart Schouten, from oval-side in Salt Lake City. “It’s great to see that someone who works as hard as Cindy does get rewarded, she’s always so positive no matter the results but after today’s skate she was especially happy, and giggling, and I think she skipped around a bit too!” he added.

Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) was also a part of Group A skaters, and earned 12th place in a time of 7:12.68.

As expected, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games gold medallist Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic was at the top of the women’s 5000m podium, having crossed the line in an intimidating time of 6:42.66, beating the previous World Record of 6:45.61 that she had established on the same Salt Lake City Oval four years ago. The silver medal went to Stephanie Beckert in 6:47.03, while bronze went to Japan’s Eriko Ishino who skated the distance in 6:55.07.

In Group B racing, Canada’s rookies are demonstrating they learn quickly, and that Canada’s future on the ice is bright. Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) led the charge, earning an impressive fourth place finish in 7:04.68 – a time which would have earned her eighth place in Group A racing. Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB) skated to ninth place in 7:12.59, and Kirsti Lay (Medicine Hat, AB) rounded out the results with her time of 7:19.73 – good for 13th place in the grueling event.

“Ivanie did really very well today! She’s a gritty skater, she’s strong mentally and physically. In Group B they skate in quartets, and I think being able to chase gave her an advantage. Kirsti also had a great race – she posted a personal best by about 10 seconds today. It’s very exciting to see the new group of kids coming up – Ivanie’s only about 21 years old – it’s great to see them do so well,” concluded a contented Schouten.

Denny Morrison on the Hunt for more Podiums

In the men’s 1500m event, Denny Morrison (Fort St-John, BC) skated to fourth place, with a time of 1:43.62. “I think he’s getting better every week; he didn’t have an easy skate today, but he’s consistently close to the podium and overall a consistent skater. He’s very smart technically, and today he had great execution. He’s definitely back,” analyzed National Long Track Coach Bart Schouten.

Lukas Makowsky (Regina, SK) earned tenth place in a time of 1:44.97, “Lucas had a hard day today, he’s still recovering from last week’s World Allround competition, but he’ll be back in full form for the World Single Distance Championships,” explained Schouten.

The two top spots on the podium went to American athletes; Trevor Marsicano earned gold in 1:43.53, followed by teammate Shani Davis who skated to silver in 1:43.38; the Netherlands’ Mark Tuitert takes home the bronze medal with his time of 1:43.54.

In Group B racing, Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK) skated to ninth place in 1:46.93.

The Salt Lake City World Cup continues Saturday, with the women’s 1500m event and the men’s 10 000m event.