Jeremy Wotherspoon wins gold at speed skating World Cup

HAMAR, Norway – Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., won the gold medal Friday in the men’s 500 metres at a World Cup long track speed skating competition. Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., added a bronze in the women’s 1,500

In the men’s 500, Wotherspoon clocked 34.55 seconds for his fifth victory in five 500 races this season on the circuit. Keiichiro Nagashima of Japan was second in 34.74 and Pekka Koskela of Finland third in 34.77.

‘’Overall it was pretty good,’’ said Wotherspoon, coming off a second place finish at the world sprint championships last weekend. ‘’I wanted to enter my turns a lot

better than I did at the worlds and follow through on my pushes. I did all that better today than last weekend. But after the race, I was immediately thinking about things I can do better for the next race.’’

Vincent Labrie of St-Romuald, Que., was 13th and Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., 16th. In the B group race, Mark Nielsen of Calgary was fifth and Jamie Gregg of Edmonton sixth.

In the World Cup 500 standings after nine of 14 races, Kang-Seok Lee of South Korea leads with 662 points, his compatriot Kyou-Hyuk Lee is second at 510 and Wotherspoon is third at 500. Wotherspoon skipped the European stops in December.

In the women’s 1,500, Ireen Wust led the Netherlands to a 1-2 finish clocking 1:54.65 with Paulien van Deutekom second in 1:56.84. Nesbitt took the bronze in 1:57.14 with Kristina Groves of Ottawa fourth in 1:57.40 and Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg fifth in1:57.60.

‘’I hadn’t skated a World Cup in over a month so I’m very happy with the medal,’’ said Nesbitt, who has reached the podium in her five 1,500 World Cup races this season. ‘’However, I wasn’t totally pleased with how I raced today. My finish was strong but I didn’t have a lot of speed at the start. You need that good start in the 1,500 if you want to win.’’

Cindy Klassen and Brittany Schussler, both of Winnipeg, were eighth and 14th respectively.

Nesbitt still leads the 1,500 World Cup standings with 420 points after five of seven races. Groves is second at 350 and Anni Friesinger of Germany third at 280.

In the women’s 500, Rempel posted her best result this season finishing fourth in 38.49. Jenny Wolf of Gerrmany won the race in 37.52 with Sang-Hwa Lee of South Korea second in 38.07 and Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands third in 38.23.

Nesbitt was 14th, Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer 19th and Klassen 20th. In the B Group race, Tamara Oudenaarden of Edmonton was fourth.

Competition continues through to Sunday.