Morrison & Gregg Canada’s top skaters at World Cup

Denny Morrison and Jamie Gregg Canada’s top skaters at World Cup in China

– In the fifth and last Essent ISU (long track) World Cup of the fall season, Denny Morrison and Jamie Gregg were Canada’s top skaters today finishing in the top 10 of their respective races at the Heilongjiang Provincial Speed Skating Oval in Harbin, China. Racing resume tomorrow with the second 500- and 1,000-metre races and the team sprint event.

Morrison, of Fort St. John, B.C., took fifth place in the 1,000 metres in one minute and 10.28 seconds. He was only 0.18 seconds behind bronze medallist Samuel Schwarz of Germany, who had a time of 1:10.10. American Shani Davis took the gold medal in 1:10.05 and Dutch skater Hein Otterspeer had silver in 1:10.07. Edmonton’s Jamie Gregg was 11th overall in 1:11.13 and Philippe Riopel, of Lachenaie, Que., was 18th (1:12.05).

In the men’s 500 metres division A, Gregg crossed the line in 35.56 seconds for eighth place. Calgary’s Gilmore Junio, who earned his first World Cup medal last weekend in Japan, took 13th spot in 35.63 seconds and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, of Sherbrooke, Que., was 19th (35.83). Dutch skaters Jan Smeekens and Michel Mulder took gold (35.15) and silver (35.20), respectively, and Japan’s Joji Kato won the bronze medal (35.22).

In women’s 500-metre action, Anastasia Bucsis of Calgary was in 17th place in division A in 39.50 seconds, while Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., was fourth in 39.92 seconds in division B. Sang-Hwa Lee of Korea was the gold medallist in 37.94 seconds, followed by Germany’s Jenny Wolf (37.95) and China’s Jing Yu (38.53).

In their second races of the day in the 1,000 metres, Bucsis was 15th in 1:19.74 and Wotherspoon came in at 24th (1:21.28). Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic took first place, and the gold medal, in 1:17.10. Hong Zhang of China was in second place (1:17.14) and Margot Boer of the Netherlands third (1:17.36).

In men’s division B 500 metres, William Dutton of Humboldt, Sask., was 13th (36.17). Morrison, who has been on the road since the first World Cup this season in the Netherlands from Nov. 16-18, took 17th place (36.44).

Canadian officials are also represented at this World Cup. Trevis Boyd of Winnipeg is serving an assistant referee (men). Richard Hunt of Kingston, Ont., is a referee for women’s races. Hans Terstappen of Calgary and Michael Makowsky of Regina are serving as starters for the men’s and women’s races, respectively.

The World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance stands at $30,000 (8 gold, 14 silver; 8 bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win. This season’s 30th medal came from Denny Morrison (silver in the 1,000 metres at the World Cup in Nagano, Japan). The Regina Speed Skating Club received $1,000 from the program.