Queen of the 1000m – Christine Nesbitt World Champion

Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) came back strong today at the World Single Distance Championships in Inzell, Germany, winning the World title in the 1000m event. Nesbitt has utterly dominated the distance this season, winning gold in five races out of six starts in the distance, and today was no exception.

Christine Nesbitt becomes 1000m World Champion; Photo: Sean Ireland
Nesbitt crossed the line in 1:14.84, more than a half second ahead of her closest rival, the Netherlands’ Ireen Wust. “I was pretty nervous because I wasn’t really happy about my race yesterday. I was doubting myself a bit, so I talked with my coaches Mark [Wild] and Xiuli [Wang] and they really supported me and got me focused, and I was able to put everything I could into the race today,” Nesbitt commented. “I was really happy when I crossed the line; this is the fastest time I’ve ever skated in Europe!”

The Netherlands’ Ireen Wust settled for silver with her time of 1:15.42; third place went to American skater Heather Richardson in 1:15.45. Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) scored herself another solid top ten result this weekend, with a tenth place finish in a time of 1:17.29, to add to yesterday’s seventh place in the 1500m event. Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) skated to 15th place in the event, crossing the line in 1:17.44.

Christine Nesbitt offered this overall analysis of her performances this year, “Ever since World Sprint Championships I’ve been feeling tired, a bit like I’m winding down; my season has been very long this year. Confidence isn’t a problem when you know you’re skating well; when you’re not you know it too though – you can’t lie to yourself. Regardless, it’s been my best season ever, there’s no doubt about that.”

Her favourite memory from an intense and demanding post-Olympic year? “Winning World Sprint Championships!” Christine Nesbitt answered quickly, “I think that first 1000m was the best race of my season, and the best race of my life. It was also the fact of having good teammates there to support me and to celebrate with, all the emails I got from friends and family encouraging me after the first day of competitions, and the fact that’s it’s Heerenveen, where there’s so much of the sport’s history – and of course the victory sleighride too!” she enthused. Nesbitt’s very last race of the year will be tomorrow’s Women’s Team Pursuit.

The women’s 5000m event was won by the Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova, with her time of 6:50.83. Germany earned both the silver and bronze medals, courtesy of Stephanie Berkert who took silver in a time of 6:54.99, followed teammate Claudia Pechstein in 7:00.90.

Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) continues to perform, today skating to another top ten – earning seventh place in 7:07.52. Long track rookie Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON) skated to 15th place in the event with a time of 7:23.96; her recent spate of strong results demonstrating that she’ll be one to watch next season, as she keeps improving race after race.

The men’s 10 000m was also raced today in Inzell, but no Canadian skater was on the start list. The event was won by Dutch skater Bob de Jong in 12:48.20. Silver went to another Dutch skater, Bob de Vries, who completed the race in 13:04.62, and Russian skater Ivan Skobrev won the bronze in 13:08.17.

Sunday concludes the World Single Distance Championships, as well as the international long track speed skating season. On the menu are the men’s and women’s 500m races, as well as the men’s and women’s Team Pursuits.