Nesbitt & Morrison On the Podium Again

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) set a track record in the 1000m event and earned another gold, Sunday, at the Moscow World Cup. This newest gold medal means that Nesbitt remains undefeated in both the 1000m and 1500m events so far this season, in addition to being crowned World Sprint Champion. Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) scored his second podium at this World Cup with a silver medal in the men’s 1000m.

Nesbitt continues her domination of middle-distance racing, with Saturday’s 1500m win, and Sunday’s 1000m gold in a time of 1:15.59. The 25 year-old is on track to dish out some serious skating in time for the upcoming World All-Round Championships. “Though she was tired today, her groin is still feeling some tightness, but she felt that she could still go out there and skate well,” said Bart Schouten, National Long Track Team Coach. “We talked with her and decided to focus on technique, on her skating low, and it worked. She’s had a great summer of training, and she’s exactly where she needs to be,” he concluded.

Teammates also skating the 1000m event were Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB), who skated across the line in 1:16.71 for seventh place, and Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) who clocked 1:17.62 to finish 13th.

Once again today, the Netherlands’ Ireen Wust earned silver behind Nesbitt in 1:15.94; bronze was snapped by American Heather Richardson in 1:16.18.

In the women’s Group B 1000m, Sarah Gregg (Edmonton, AB) proved that speed skating is in the Gregg family genes, with her solid fifth place finish in a time of 1:19.21. Tamara Oudenaarden (St. Albert, AB) earned herself eighth place with 1:20.10.

The Women’s team had the chance to try out some new skaters in the Team Pursuit event. Mainstay Brittany Schussler lead two rookies - Kirsty Lay (Medicine Hat, AB) and Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) to their first team pursuit event; the women took fifth place in 3:07.02. “Fifth place was better than what we expected, so we’re really happy with that result. It’s good to give some experience to rookies; that was one of the goals this weekend,” commented the National Team Coach.

Team Netherlands scored the win in 3:01.13, followed by Team Norway who earned silver in 3:03.02, and Team Germany will take home the bronze after their time of 3:04.11.

Morrison’s Back!

Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) demonstrated he’s back in fine form, adding yet another medal to his collection. Morrison skated to silver in the men’s 1000m event in a time of 1:09.57; adding to his 1500m silver medal from Friday’s racing. Bart Schouten explained “We have a really good race plan for him, and it really seems to work. He’s getting better technically and stronger every week; he’s really on the right track – the coaches are very pleased with his progress. He’s working very cleverly – he brings a lot of good analytical qualities as a skater.”

All the Canadian men were top-fifteen in the 1000m event; Philippe Riopel (Lachenaie, QC) earned himself ninth place in 1:10.18 – his first top ten in World Cup racing, Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) just missed top ten with eleventh place in 1:10.28 and Richard MacLennan (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) skated to 13th in 1:10.40.

The Netherlands’ Stefan Groothuis won the event in 1:08.82; Norway’s Mikael Flygind-Larsen took bronze in a time of 1:09.65.

In Group B, Tyler Derraugh (Winnipeg, MB) capped off his weekend with a fifth place finish in the 1000m event with a time of 1:10.90.

Team Canada’s Men’s Pursuit Team consisting of Riopel, Morrison, and Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) were two one-hundredths of a second from the bronze medal in their event, clocking a time of 3:47.17. “Phil (Riopel) doesn’t have a lot of experience in the pursuit event and he did a great job today, Lucas was still feeling jetlagged, and of course Denny has been skating hard all weekend, so overall we were very happy with their team result today,” concluded Schouten.

The event was won by Team Russia in a time of 3:43.71, silver went to Norway in 3:46.68, and Team Germany skated to bronze in 3:47.15.

Next up for Team Canada’s speed skaters are the World All-Round Championships, February 12 to 13th in Calgary, Alberta.