Jeremy Wothersoon wins bronze, Arne Dankers breaks Canadian record at speed skating World Cup

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., opened his World Cup long track speed skating season Saturday with a bronze medal in the men’s 500-metres while Arne Dankers of Calgary broke his Canadian record in the 5,000.

In the men’s 500, Joji Kato of Japan broke the world record clocking 34.30 seconds which eclipsed the previous mark of 34.32 set here by his compatriot Hiroyasu Shimizu in 2001.Kang-Seok Lee of South Korea was second in 34.58 and Wotherspoon, the most successful male World Cup speed skater with 54 career wins, followed in third at 34.62.

“Most of my race was solid so it’s a very good start to the season for me,” said Wotherspoon, who is also breaking in a new pair of skates this season. “There are some parts I need to fine tune but I’m confident I can improve on those areas when I’m totally on my game later in the season. I wasn’t suprised to see the world record fall. Kato won the world title last year and he’s been on fire for awhile.”

Vincent Labrie of Ste-Foy, Que., was 20th, Brock Miron of Calgary 22nd and Mark Nielsen of Calgary 25th.

In the men’s 5,000, Sven Kramer led the Netherlands to a 1-2 finish clocking a world record 6:08.78.
Dankers was seventh in 6:14.01 which smashed the 6:19.97 national mark he skated last weekend at the World Cup in Calgary.

“The big difference with last week is that Arne was really challenged by his pair tonight,” said Dankers coach Xiuli Wang of Calgary. “Last week he took off and never saw his pair and that took away some energy. Tonight his pair was very good and that really drove him to go.”

Other Canadian results: in the men’s 1,000, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was fifth while Labrie and Miron tied for 15th. In the women’s 1,000, Kristina Groves of Ottawa was eighth, Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., 11th, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg 14th and Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., 15th.