Wotherspoon breaks world outdoor speed skating record / Canadians win three of four gold at speed skating World Cup

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., broke the world outdoor record in the men’s 500-metres while Catriona Le May Doan of Saskatoon and Mark Nielsen of Calgary won the new 100-metre sprint event Sunday in World Cup long track speed skating.

Le May Doan finished day with day with two medals as she also took silver in the 500-metres. She also won silver in the 500 and bronze in the 1,000 on Saturday to conclude her best weekend this season just two weeks before the world championships.

Wotherspoon took the men’s 500 in 35.20 seconds which is the fastest time ever recorded on an outdoor oval. He has also won all eight World Cup 500 races this season. Gerard van Velde of the Netherlands was second in 35.55 and Kip Carpenter of the U.S., third in 35.79.

This is the first major event for the sprinters since the world sprint championships in January. Wotherspoon didn’t seem affected by the layoff this weekend even though he battled a cold.

‘’I feel strong physically and technically,’’ said Wotherspoon. ‘’During the schedule break I didn’t try to make any drastic changes to my skating. But I’m always looking at little things that can help me go faster,’’

Mike Ireland of Winnipeg was fifth in 35.87 while Nielsen was 14th and Éric Brisson of Ste-Foy, Que., 17th. Brock Miron of Calgary won the B group race in 36.85.

Wotherspoon now has 45 career World Cup wins, only three behind Uwe Jens May of Germany who is the all time men’s leader.

In the women’s 100 sprint, Le May Doan showed why she is considered the fastest starter in the world clocking 10.41 seconds for her first victory this season. Shihomi Shinya and Sayuri Osuga, both of Japan, tied for second at 10.51.

The 100 metre event is important since it counts towards the 500 World Cup standings. This is the second 100 event ever. The first one was held earlier this season at a World Cup in Salt Lake City.

Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., was 16th, Kim Weger of Regina 18th and Shannon Rempel of Winnpeg 21st.

Earlier in the 500, held in a steady drizzle at the outdoor oval, world sprint champion Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt of Germany earned her sixth victory this season clocking 39.12. Le May Doan, the Olympic champion, and Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands tied for second at 39.56

Myers was 14th. Weger and Rempel placed second and third respectively in the B race.

‘’My start in both races today was very good,’’ said Le May Doan. ‘’But I wasn’t actually happy with my 500 overall. I let my mind get too worked up because the weather wasn’t great. There were a lot of puddles on the ice and I couldn’t get a good grip.’’

In the men’s 100-metre sprint, Nielsen took the gold in 9.52 seconds for his first career World Cup win. Wotherspoon was eighth, Ireland 10th, James Monson of Winnipeg 19th and Miron 25th.

The 23-year-old Nielsen is a former hockey player who reached the junior B level. He was noted for his speed but only started speed skating at age 19. He has been a pleasant surprise in his rookie season on the World Cup circuit.

‘’I have a bit of a different start position and that really helps me,’’ said Nielsen, a silver medallist in the 100 at the Salt Lake City World Cup in January. ‘’But I work hard at it and I’ve always loved the sprints. I’m a bit surprised to do this well. My progress is going very well this year.’’

The World Cup final for all distances is next weekend March 7-9 at Heerenveen, the Netherlands.