Long track speed skaters enter final month of training before Olympic Games

Canadian speed skaters to be nominated to Sochi 2014 Olympic Team

on Jan 22 in Calgary


With the finish line in sight after years of preparation, Canada’s long track speed skaters are now in their final month of training before the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.


Though the team will not be officially announced until Jan. 22, athletes nominated following last week’s Intact Insurance 2014 Team Selections continue to get their bodies and minds lined up for the Feb. 7-23 competition.


“I was pre-qualified for the 1500m in both previous Olympic Games, so I definitely have a different perspective for this one,” offered Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., following his victory at that distance on Jan. 2 at The Olympic Oval. “It definitely makes me much more appreciative of just how much goes into qualifying for the Olympics.”


Canada has ability to send 18 athletes to the Games (10 women, 8 men), with the athletes to be nominated by Speed Skating Canada’s Olympic Selection Committee following the Selections and announced publicly on Jan. 22 at Calgary’s Olympic Oval.


Morrison’s week at the Selections featured plenty of drama. He fell approaching the finish line in the 1000m on Dec. 30 and finished fifth following a re-skate. It left him in the position of being left out of consideration for Sochi if he had a bad skate in the 1500m.


Christine Nesbitt, the 2010 Olympic 1000m champion, won her three distances last week — the 500m, 1000m and 1500m.


“I’m really excited about the Olympics. I like the position I’m in and I’m really excited about racing,” said the London, Ont., native.


Other race winners at the Selections were: Jamie Gregg of Edmonton in the men’s 500m, 19-year-old Vincent De Haître of Cumberland, Ont., in the men’s 1000m, Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., in the 5000m and Jordan Belchos of Toronto in the 10000m. Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa captured the women’s 5000m and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg won the 3000m.