Wotherspoon now tied for all time lead in career World Cup wins with victory in 500 metres

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Calgary won the gold medal in the 500-metres Sunday and is now tied for career World Cup wins in men’s competition in an exciting conclusion to the first stop on the long track speed skating World Cup circuit for the sprinters.

Wotherspoon, 27, clocked 34.78 seconds for the victory to finish ahead of Erben Wennemars of Netherlands second in 34.81 and world record holder Hiroyasu Shimizu of Japan third in 34.90. Mike Ireland of Winnipeg was fifth in 35.01.

“I was a bit flat but it was still a solid race,” said Wotherspoon, who won the 500 Saturday in 34.37 seconds. “I was surprised that it turned out to be the winning time. I didn’t do anything different today I just think I was more excited yesterday because it was the first race of the season.”

In the men’s career World Cup victory standings, Wotherspoon now has 48 wins (32 in the 500 and 16 in the 1,000) and is tied with Uwe-Jens Mey of Germany, who retired in 1992. The overall leader is Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann of Germany with 98 career World Cup wins in women’s competition.

“It’s definitely a reflection of my consistency,” said Wotherspoon, who won his first World Cup medal in 1998. “And it also shows that I’m strong mentally and have the ability to be ready for every race. It’s really nice to have that title.”

Also in the men’s 500, James Monson of Calgary was 13th, Brock Miron of Cornwall, Ont., 19th and Mark Nielsen of Calgary 29th.

Wotherspoon added a bronze in the men’s 1,000 clocking 1:08.52. Wennemars won the gold in 1:07.93 and his compatriot Gerard Van Velde was second in 1:08.36.

Ireland was fifth in 1:08.95 while Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., was 27th, Miron 30th and Monson 35th.

On the women’s side, world junior champion Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg completed an impressive start to her season placing seventh in the 500 in 38.75 and eighth in the 1,000 in 1:17.37. The 19-year-old posted three top-10 finishes this weekend. She was also 18th in the 500 on Saturday.

“I had a much more solid race in the 500 today,” said Rempel, who’ll defend her world junior crown in February. “Mentally I was much more comfortable. I didn’t feel as nervous and I felt confident I could control that last corner. This is a better start to the season than I expected but I’ll take it.”

Manli Wang of China won the women’s 500 in 38.00 and Jennifer Rodriguez of the U.S., completed a golden sweep the 1,000 races with the win in 1:15.28.

Other Canadian women’s results: Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., was 18th in the 500 and 14th in the 1,000; Kim Weger of Regina 23rd and 20th, and Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer, 32nd in both races while Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg was 21st in the 1,000 and Sarah Smith of Medicine Hat, Alta., 33rd in the 500.

The next stop on the World Cup is next weekend in Salt Lake City.