Wotherspoon puts golden touch on superb World Cup season, Mark Nielsen adds silver

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., put a golden touch on a superb long track speed skating World Cup season on Sunday winning the men’s 500-metres while Mark Nielsen of Calgary added silver in the100-metre dash.

In the men’s 500, Wotherspoon earned his sixth win this season in 12 races clocking 34.93 seconds. Fengtong Yu of China was second in 35.16 and Hiroyasu Shimizu of Japan third in 35.19. Wotherspoon had clinched the 500 World Cup title last weekend. He receives $14,000 (U.S.) for the title.

“It’s nice to finish off with a really good solid race,” said Wotherspoon, who’ll now prepare for the world single distance championships March 13-15 in Seoul. “I was pretty confident I could do a sub-35 seconds here and that would probably get me the gold. I definitely used that as a motivation for today.”

Mike Ireland of Winnipeg was seventh on Sunday and finishes fifth in the 500 standings. Brock Miron of Cornwall, Ont., was 20th. Nielsen won the B final.

In the men’s 100, Yu took the gold medal in 9.59 seconds with Nielsen second in 9.79 and Ryohei Shimizu of Japan third in 9.92.

“On the start line I try and find the most powerful position,” said Nielsen, who finishes second in the 100 standings behind Yu. “There’s like a sweet spot from which you can create the most power. And it’s different for everybody. Being indoors also makes the conditions ideal for having the best race possible.”

In the women’s 5,000, Claudia Pechstein won the gold medal to take the World Cup title while Kristina Groves of Ottawa was fifth and placed eighth overall.

Other Canadian results: in the men’s 1,500, Jay Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was 12th while in the B final his brother Denny Morrison was seventh, Steven Elm of Red Deer, 13th, Peter Volcic of Kitchener, Ont., 15th and Dustin Molicki of Calgary 23rd; in the women’s 500, Krisy Myers of Calgary was 18th while in the B final, Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., was first, Kim Weger of Regina fourth, Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer 11th and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg 13th; in the women’s 100, Myers was 12th.

The Canadians return home to Calgary for a couple of days before heading to Seoul to prepare for the worlds.