Canadians set new records at Oval Finale

A new standard in speed skating was set at the Olympic Oval Finale as current Canadian record holders Denny Morrison, Arne Dankers and Justin Warsylewicz all raced new personal best times.

Nineteen year old Morrison, from Fort St. John, BC, raced to first and a personal best in the men's 1500-metre event, missing the World Junior Record by one-tenth of a second. Skating in one minute and 46.83 seconds, Morrison broke the Canadian Junior Record he had set earlier in the season.

In the Men's 5,000 metre event, Dankers skated in 6.24.05, taking first place and breaking his current record. Regina's Warsylewicz broke his Canadian Junior Record with a time of 6.27.68 and placed third. Second place went to Netherlands' Wouter Oldeheuvel who's 6.25.81 finish gave him a new World Junior Record for overall points in a competition. Oldeheuvel also placed second in the Men's 1500-metre. Morrison's older brother Jay was third.

Records in the Ladies' 1000- and 3,000-metre distances also fell. Netherland's Ireen Wuust broke the 1,000-metre World Junior Record with a personal best time 1.15.93, the World Junior Record in the 3,000 metre (4.07.71) and set a new World Junior Record for overall points in a competition.

Teammate Annette Gerritsen placed second in the 1,000-metre event and Canada's Kerry Simpson, of Melville, Saskatchewan, placed third. Gerritsen also picked up the bronze in the 3,000 metre, racing behind second-place finisher and fellow Dutch skater Tessa vanDick.

Quebec's Clara Hughes skating in 14 minutes and 19.73 seconds set a new world best in the Ladies' 10,000-metre distance. Hughes broke Germany's Gunda Niemann's previous record of 14.22.60 which was set back in 1994 at the Olympic Oval Finale.

In earlier competition, Korea's Jeong-Hyun posted an impressive 9.94-second finish in the Herbalife 100-metre event. Calgary's Mark Nielsen raced in 9.97 seconds and will advance as one of the top six skaters to the finals on Sunday. In the Ladies' event, Netherlands' Gerritsen raced to first place in 10.62 seconds, followed by Winnipeg's Shannon Rempel who finished in 10.84 seconds.

The Finale event continues at the Olympic Oval on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

For more information, contact:

Yvonne Turgeon

Olympic Oval Communications

(403) 210-8568