NEWS: Denny Morrison wins silver medal in 1,500 metres at World Cup in Kazakhstan

Audio (MP3): Cindy Klassen, Denny Morrison, Christine Nesbitt

OTTAWA – In the third last pairing of today’s final race at the long track speed skating Essent ISU World Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., gave Canada its only medal of the day with a silver in the 1,500 metres (1:45.80). He was only 0.11 seconds behind gold medallist Wouter Olde Heuvel of the Netherlands, and 0.16 seconds ahead of Havard Bokko of Norway. (ISU results website)

“Like anything, you always want better than you get in speed skating,” said Morrison. “You’re always trying to improve. To be one tenth off the track record and the win is motivating. I’m still happy with the second place. Overall, pretty good race – nice and smooth.”

Speed Skating Canada’s other top 10 finishers were in the women’s 3,000 metres. Winnipeg’s Cindy Klassen was fifth (4:06.5) and Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., of 10th (4:09.14). Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic took the gold medal in a time of 4:03.28.

“I’m kind of mad about it,” said Nesbitt of her first 3,000-metre race in two months. “It was alright, but I let it go too much in the second lap. I don’t want to feel that way anymore. There’s no reason that I can’t be in the top six, pretty much every time.”

Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg was 19th (4:13.44) in the 3,000-metre race. In the B division, both Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa and Nicole Garrido of Edmonton were disqualified.

Mathieu Giroux, of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., raced to 14th place (1:47.43) in the 1,500 metres. Regina’s Lucas Makowsky earned first place (1:47.83) in division B of the 1,500.

In the women’s 500 metres, Nesbitt was 11th (38.58 seconds) and Calgary’s Anastasia Bucsis was 18th (39.10). Winnipeg’s Shannon Rempel was third (39.50) in division B.

In the men’s 500 metres, Gilmore Junio of Calgary was 11th (35.24) and Edmonton’s Jamie Gregg was 20th (36.44). In division B, William Dutton of Humboldt, Sask., was third (35.53), Tyler Derraugh of Winnipeg was ninth (35.88) and Richard MacLennan of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was 10th (35.902).

Tae-Burn Mo of Korea won the men’s 500-metre gold (34.89), while American Tucker Fredricks took silver (34.94) and Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands earned bronze (35.01). On the women’s side, Sang-Hwa Lee of Korea was first (37.78), followed by Germany’s Jenny Wolf (38.04) and Thijsje Oenema of the Netherlands (38.22).

After today’s races, Canada has won two gold medals, two silvers and a bronze in this season’s long track World Cup circuit.

The World Cup continues Saturday with the second men’s and women’s 500-metre race, and the women’s 1,500 metres and men’s 5,000 metres.

With Morrison’s medal, the World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance is up to $18,000 (nine gold medals, seven silver and two bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win. Last season, Intact Insurance awarded more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

Photo by Jeremy Kozubak.

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