Nesbitt wins bronze at world championships

Christine Nesbitt wins bronze at World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships
Kali Christ is fifth and Brittany Schussler takes eighth place

SOCHI, Russia
- Defending 1,500-metre champion Christine Nesbitt of Canada skated to a bronze medal at this year's World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Sochi, Russia. Nesbitt's teammates Kali Christ and Brittany Schussler also had Top 10 finishes earning fifth and eighth place, respectively.

Nesbitt, of London, Ont., skated in the second last pair with gold medallist, and new world champion, Ireen Wust of the Netherlands. Wust dominated the race in a time of 1:55.38, followed by teammate Lotte van Beek in 1:58.02 and Nesbitt in 1:58.07.

"I was surprised to come away with a bronze medal. It wasn't the greatest race of my life," said Nesbitt, who will look to defend her 1,000-metre title tomorrow. "I felt like I was lacking snap. I felt like a slug, for lack of better term. At no point in my race was I really feeling explosive and powerful and dynamic in my movements.

"But, it was good enough today for a bronze medal," concluded Nesbitt, who is coached by Xiuli Wang and Mark Wild. "So that's kind of the silver lining - that even with a bad race I can still medal."

Christ, of Regina, had the fastest time of 1:58.69 until the Nesbitt-Wust pairing skated. The 21-year-old, coached by Todd McClements, was then bumped off the podium to fifth place after the last pair (Diane Valkenburg and van Beek) completed their race. Winnipeg's Schussler finished eighth overall stopping the clock at 1:59.04.

"It [race] was pretty good. I had a strong opener - fastest first lap ever. Usually I'm a little bit stronger in the second lap, but I fell apart a little bit on one of the corners and couldn't get that lap back," said Christ, who improved on her eighth place ranking from last year's world championships. "It's been a good experience skating here. [I'm] super excited to see the facilities before the [Sochi 2014] Games."

In the men's 1,000 metres, Denny Morrison, of Fort St. John, B.C., had the best time among the Canadian men taking 13th place in a time of 1:10.45. This was Morrison's first race since World Cup #5 in China on Dec. 15. The 27-year-old, coached by Bart Schouten and Mike Crowe, suffered a broken left fibula on Dec. 22.

Edmonton's Jamie Gregg was two hundredths of a second behind Morrison for 14th place in 1:10.47. Tyler Derraugh of Winnipeg finished in 18th spot in a time of 1:11.14.

"It was a great experience for me. Being in the building and the environment was really good," said Derraugh on competing in the venue for the Sochi 2014 Olympics and at his first world championships. "It wasn't the race that I wanted. [I'm] little disappointed with the result. I'll have to make some adjustments so I can come back stronger next year [for the Olympics]."

Competing in his second world championships, Toronto's Jordan Belchos had a time of 6:36.22 to finish 17th in the 5,000 metres. The 23-year-old was 13th last year.

The women have two races Saturday, the 1,000- and 5,000-metre distances, and the men have one race, the 10,000 metres. The season wraps up Sunday with the two 500-metre races and team pursuit.