Golden day for Wotherspoon & Nesbitt at speed skating World Cup

Christine Nesbitt and Kristina Groves on the podium for the ladies 1500m, photo: Arno Hoogveld
CALGARY – It was another golden day for Canadian long track speed skaters in World Cup competition on Saturday. Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., rocketed to victory in the men’s 500-metre while Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., was the women’s 1,500-metre winner for the second straight week. Kristina Groves of Ottawa, Ont., added to the mix with a bronze in the women's 1,500m.

In the men’s 500, Wotherspoon collected his fifth win in six races this season clocking 34.24 seconds, just 0.01 seconds slower than his track record performance on Friday. Tucker Fredricks of the U.S., was second in 34.31 and Mika Poutala of Finland third in 34.39. Wotherspoon has won all four 500-metre World Cup races this season and now has a career leading 62 wins in men’s World Cup racing.

‘’The time was similar but it was a different kind of race for me,’’ said Wotherspoon. ‘’I got my speed in different areas today. I had a better start but my timing was off on the second turn. I got to remember to stay relaxed and skate low. You can’t fight things. You got to let it happen.’’

Mike Ireland of Winnipeg posted his best result this season placing sixth. Vincent Labrie of St-Romuald, Que., was also a season-best ninth and Mark Nielsen of Calgary 18th. Denny Morrison of Fort-St. John, B.C., was fourth in the B group race.

In the women’s 1,500, Nesbitt took the gold in 1:52.75, less than a second off

Christine Nesbitt and coach Marcel Lacroix following the 1500m, photo: Arno Hoogveld
compatriot Cindy Klassen’s world record time. Anni Friesinger of Germany was second in 1:53.09 and Kristina Groves of Ottawa took the bronze in 1:53.18.

‘’I didn’t start the race as fast as last week,’’ said Nesbitt, 22, who finished with the same time as in her first win. ‘’In fact I was a half-second slower off the gun. But I was calmer in this race and technically I was much stronger and I was able to gain back what I lost in the first part of the race. My last lap was the fastest lap I’ve ever done.’’

Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was eighth, Klassen 10th and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg 12th.

Sven Kramer of the Netherlands won the men’s 5,000 with Arne Dankers of Calgary sixth and Justin Warsylewicz of Regina 12th.

Jenny Wolf of Germany won the women’s 500. In the B group race, Rempel was second, Kim Weger of Regina fourth, Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer 11th and Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., 14th.

Competition ends Sunday.