Nesbitt wins silver & Gregg bronze at World Cup

Christine Nesbitt wins silver and Jamie Gregg bronze at World Cup in Calgary
Cape Breton and Calgary speed skating clubs receive $1,000 from Intact Insurance World Cup Podium Tracker

– Canadians Christine Nesbitt and Jamie Gregg stepped on the podium on the first day of the Essent ISU World Cup #6 for sprint distances at Calgary’s Olympic Oval. Nesbitt earned a silver medal in the 1,000 metres, while Gregg took the bronze in the 500 metres. Both distances will be repeated on Sunday.

The 27-year old native of London, Ont., Nesbitt, skated in a time of one minute and 13.67 seconds to collect her second silver World Cup medal of the season and sixth total. After 53 World Cups, she has a total of 64 individual medals – 31 gold, 18 silver and 15 bronze. Americans Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe finished on either side of Nesbitt. Richardson took gold in a time of 1:13.09 and Bowe had bronze in 1:13.92.

“I’m pretty happy with it. It’s definitely an improvement from how things have been going this season,” said Nesbitt. “My hard work, persistence and focusing on the right things are starting to pay off. I’d like to be first, but I’m also looking at the big picture towards the World Single Distances Championships in March, and I think I’m on the right track for that.”

The men’s silver and bronze medallists in the 500 metres were only four one hundredths from the top spot. Gregg, of Edmonton, had a time of 34.369 seconds, which was only 0.008 seconds behind silver medallist Pekka Koskela, of Finland, with 34.361. Dutch skater Jan Smeekens won the gold medal in a time of 34.32 seconds.

“It was a personal best opener (first 100 metres). I was really happy with that,” said Gregg in winning his first World Cup medal of the season and fourth career. “It was the fastest I’ve gone by half a tenth (of second). I carried a lot of the speed into the first corner and built on it in the backstretch. I messed up my entry for the second corner, but I was able to recover for the homestretch.

“It’s nice (to compete at the Olympic Oval). There’s such an advantage for us skaters,” added Gregg, who tied a three-year personal best. “You feel the ice and you’re use to it. The fans cheering for you when your named – there’s relaxation from the fans being behind me.”

Other Canadian men the division A 500 metres saw Calgary’s Gilmore Junio post another personal best time of 34.56 seconds to take sixth place, and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix, of Sherbrooke, Que., was 17th with a time of 35.00 seconds.

In the women’s 500 metres division A, Nesbitt earned 10th place crossing the finishing line in 37.88 seconds. Hometown skater Anastasia Bucsis was 17th with a time of 38.69 seconds.

In division B action in women’s 500 metres, Kaylin Irvine, of Calgary, was fourth in 38.40 seconds. Danielle Wotherspoon, of Red Deer, Alta., took ninth place in 38.52, and Shannon Rempel, of Winnipeg, was 11th in 38.87.

In division B action in women’s 1,000 metres, Irvine and Winnipeg’s Brittany Schussler had personal best times to finish with the silver and bronze medals, respectively. Irvine had a time of 1:15.26 and Schussler stopped the clock at 1:15.76. Kali Christ, of Regina, had a seventh place finish in 1:16.08 and Bucsis was 11th in 1:16.70.

In division B action in men’s 500 metres, William Dutton, of Humboldt, Sask., posted a personal best time of 34.89 seconds to take the silver medal. Laurent Dubreuil, of Lévis, Que., was just off the division B podium by 0.08 seconds to take fourth place in with a time of 34.98.

In the men’s 1,000 metres division A, Winnipeg’s Tyler Derraugh posted a time of 1:08.78 to take fourth place, and Gregg was ninth in a time of 1:07.92. American Shani Davis won the gold medal in a time of 1:07.49, followed by Dutch skaters Kjeld Nuis (1:07.64) and Michel Mulder (1:07.87).

In division B action in men’s 1,000 metres, Dubreuil took sixth spot in 1:08.92, Philippe Riopel, of Lachenaie, Que., was eighth in 1:09.20 and Dutton was 11th in 1:09.63.

Junior World Cup in Roseville, Minn.

Four of the nine skaters named to Canada’s entry into the world junior championships next month are gaining experience at the Junior World Cup in Roseville, Minn.

Noémie Fiset, of Quebec City, won the 500 metres in 41.10 seconds, the 1,000 metres in a time of 1:24.87, and the 3,000 metres in 4:51.13. Maddison Pearman, of Ponoka, Alta., took the bronze medal in the 500 metres (42.24) and was fourth in the 1,000 metres (1:28.97) and 3,000 metres (5:00.18).

Daniel Dubreuil, of Lévis, Que., won the 500 metres in 38.18 seconds and the 1,000 metres in 1:15.33, and was third in the 3,000 metres in 4:21.19. Ben Donnelly, of Oshawa, Ont., won the 3,000 metres in 4:19.06, was sixth in the 500 metres in 39.38 seconds, fifth in the 1,000 in 1:20.50.

The World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance stands at $32,000 (8 gold, 15 silver; 9 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 31st medal came today from Gregg’s bronze and the 32nd was from Nesbitt’s silver medal. The Cape Breton Speed Skating Club and Calgary Speed Skating Club each will receive $1,000 from the program.