Regina’s Justin Warsylewicz becomes Canada’s first ever men's overall world junior long track speed skating champion

Justin Warsylewicz of Regina became the first Canadian on Sunday to win the men’s overall title at the world junior long track speed skating championships while Dustin Johnston of Moose Jaw, Sask., added a gold with a win in the 1,500 metres.

“It’s pretty cool to be the first,” said Warsylewicz, 18, who showed promise last month when he won the Canadian senior all around title. “When you look back at the list of Canadians that have skated at this event, it’s quite an honour. I feel like I’m the luckiest guy in the world right now.”

Warsylewicz was first overall with 165.121 points over four races. Sven Kramer of the Netherlands was second at 165.973. Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was fourth at 166.595 and Johnston 12th.

“I knew I had a shot and I definitely wanted to do well,” said Warsylewicz, the 3,000 winner on Saturday. “The meet didn’t start well with a so-so 500 but I didn’t let that discourage me. There were still three races left.”

Jean Pichette, in 1981 and 1982, and Mark Knoll, in 1994 and 1995, had posted Canada’s previous best ever men’s overall results at the world juniors both placing second twice. Other Canadian greats such as Gaetan Boucher and Jeremy Wotherspoon never cracked to the top-three overall. This was the first world juniors since 1974 that Canadian men actually won some gold.

In the men’s 1,500, Johnston became the first Canadian to win a world junior gold in that event clocking 2:02.56. Warsylewicz was third at 2:02.87 and Morrison sixth.

“I was very motivated for this race because Saturday didn’t go so well for me,” said Johnston, 19. “I’m really happy to come out with the win. I went out and didn’t start too hard and I just wanted the finish the last two laps strong. Everyone here was really dying at the end.”

In the 5,000 finale, a soft snow started to fall and slowed the ice considerably. Warsylewicz was seventh, Morrison 18th and Johnston 21st.

Morrison, the overall leader after the first two races on Saturday, was hoping for a top-three finish overall.

“My 1,500 sucked today,” said Morrison. “I needed a better one to have a chance but it didn’t work out for me. But we got a great young team. We’ve competed against each other for years growing up and now we’ve all moved to Calgary this year. We’ve improved a great deal and we hope to keep it going next year.”

Last year Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg won the women’s overall title. She placed third overall this year following the completion of the women’s event on Saturday.