No Stopping Nesbitt – Gold & A Track Record!

No one can hold back Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) – no longer simply winning gold medals, Nesbitt is now setting track records, as she did this Saturday in the women’s 1000m event at the Changchun Long Track World Cup in China.

Winning in a time of 1:16.07, Nesbitt continues her utter dominance in the 1000m event, where she is also reining Olympic Champion. American Heather Richardson had to settle for silver in 1:17.49, and Germany’s Judith Hesse skated to the bronze in 1:18.04.

Overall, Canada had excellent performances in the women’s 1000m event today, with all the women coming in top-ten, but the pair to watch was surely Nesbitt and The Netherland’s Margot Boer.

“Christine skated technically probably her best race so far this season, she was nice and low and powerful on the ice. Boer generally has a fast start, but this time Christine was ahead, and she just kept on building her lead. There was silence in the oval for that race, and almost an audible gasp when the time came up and we saw that Christine had set a track record – by 1.04 seconds!” enthused Mark Wild, Long Track National Team Coach.

Not far from the podium was Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB), who finished in fifth in 1:18.17; Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) skated to seventh place in 1:18.37; Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) rounded out the results with 1:18.60 in tenth place. In Group B action, Anastasia Bucsis (Calgary, AB) skated to seventh place with her time of 1:20.90.

The men’s 1000m race featured more impressive Canadian results, as Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) skated to eighth in a time of 1:11.10. Perhaps the story of the day was Philippe Riopel (Lachenaie, QC) who skated a career-best time of 1:11.38 for 12th place. Coming into the race ranked 17th, he continues to steadily improve. “Philippe was really excited about today’s results, and he’s definitely looking forward to racing tomorrow (sunday). It’s really exciting to see that we’re getting some depth in the men’s team,” commented Mark Wild.

The Netherland’s Stefan Groothuis earned gold in 1:09.57, fellow Dutchman Simon Kuipers also stepped onto the podium for bronze in 1:10.27; Korea’s Kyou-Hyuk Lee came in at 1:10.10 for the silver medal.

Riopel’s 1000m time was identical to that of Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB), who was racing his first World Cup of the season, and grabbed top honours in Group B race (in 1:11.38). Gregg’s time will earn him a spot alongside Morrison et Riopel in sunday’s Group A racing. Richard MacLennan (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) skated to third place in 1:12.48 - if he can skate well again tomorrow he will qualify for Group A at next weekend’s World Cup. William Dutton (Humboldt, SK) was also on the ice in Group B, coming in tenth in 1:14.68.

Inroads in the 500m Event

In the womens’ 500m event, the Canadian continue to make inroads; Rempel skated to 11th place in a time of 39.19, while Nesbitt crossed the line in 39.35, good for 14th place. In a podium upset, Germany’s Jenny Wolf saw her winning streak end as she took silver in 38.29, behind Korea’s Sang-Hwa Lee, who nabbed gold in 38.24; Japan’s Nao Kodairo took bronze in 38.51.

Bucsis was the sole Canadian in Group B; she skated to seventh place in a time of 39.93.

In the men’s 500m event, Gregg skated to eighth place in 35.66, Vincent Labrie (Saint-Romuald, QC) crossed the line in 35.84 for 14th place, while Dutton finished his race in 19th in 36.51. The podium comprised Korea’s Kang-Seok Lee for the gold in 35.10, and a double for Japan with Joji Kato earning silver in 35.25, and Keiichiro Nagashima in for bronze with 35.30.

In Group B, Canadians had a strong showing, Gilmore Junio (Calgary, AB) earned himself a third place finish in 35.93, and was followed by Muncef Ouardi (Charlesbourg, QC) who took fourth place in 36.07.

Sunday, the women and men will skate the second rounds of each of their respective races in the 500m and 1000m distances.