Morrison & Klassen earn medals at speed skating World Cup

ERFURT, Germany – Canada’s medal harvest in long track speed skating continued Saturday as Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., and Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg collected silver and bronze in their respective 1,000 metre races to open the fifth stop on the World Cup circuit.

In the men’s 1,000, Shani Davis of the U.S., earned a second straight gold at the distance clocking 1:09.05 followed by Morrison in 1:09.33. Joon Mun of South Korea, Morrison’s pair, was third in 1:09.49.

‘’I’d like to be winning the gold medals but this week even the silver was a surprise for me,’’ said Morrison, 22. ‘’Things weren’t going great in training this week and I wasn’t feeling comfortable on the ice. I’m happy with the way I turned things around in the race today. I raced well against Joon and I liked how I reeled him in with a very strong last lap.’’

Davis leads the distance’s World Cup standings after five of 10 races at 430 points followed by Morrison at 296. Morrison has now posted three consecutive medal performances at the distance.

In the women’s 1,000, Anni Friesinger of Germany took her third consecutive gold at the distance clocking 1:15.71 with Chiara Simionato of Italy second in 1:16.46 and Klassen third in 1:16.48. It was Klassen’s second individual World Cup medal this season.

‘’There’s a lot of people missing from this World Cup but still I showed improvement in my racing,’’ said Klassen, who won five medals at the 2006 Winter Olympics. ‘’I was able to relax a bit more and that helped. Before, I was trying so hard that I tended to tense up. It was an exciting race with Chiara. I could event hear the (TV) commentators getting worked up about it while I was racing.’’

Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was sixth and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg 15th.

In the men’s 500, Mike Ireland of Winnipeg was seventh, Vincent Labrie of St-Romuald, Que., ninth and Morrison 18th. In the women’s 500, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was 12th and Kim Weger of Regina 19th.

In the B group races, Klassen won the women’s 500 with Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., fourth and Schussler ninth; Muncef Ouardi of Montreal was third in the men’s 500 while Labrie, Jeff Kitura of Langley, B.C., and Ouardi were seventh, ninth and 13th in the men’s 1,000.

Competition ends Sunday.