Three medals for Canada at Nagano World Cup

Canada opens the last stop of the Asia World Cups with three medals in Nagano. In the women’s 1000m, Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) stepped on the second step of the podium, winning her third medal of the season after participating in as many races for this distance. Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) finished in third place behind Nesbitt for the bronze medal. American Jennifer Rodriguez took the gold in 1:16.34, 0,05 seconds before Nesbitt. In the men’s 1000m, Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, BC) clinched the silver medal.

“I am very satisfied of my results today. I have improved every time I raced since the beginning of the season. Last year, I was performing at my best in the 1500m. This year, it is seems to be in the 1000m. There is room for improvement, like for example, increasing my speed. One thing is certain, I want to improve and win races. But I have to be patient and disciplined to maintain the intensity throughout the season and not burn out,” explained Nesbitt to reporters.

Still in the women’s 1000m, Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) finished in 5th place. In Division B, Justine L'Heureux (St-Tite, QC) also took the 5th position. This was a return to skating the 1000m for L’Heureux following a small injury last week that kept her from racing. Tamara Oudenaarden (St-Albert, AB) finished 8th in Group B.

“I was able to remain constant for every race so far this season. I am happy of that. But I will have to work on my starts if I want to stay at the top. With the return of other skaters later during the season, I know the competition will get tougher. I am looking forward to that as it will make things even more exciting. In the end, if I am skating with such determination it is because I enjoy what I am doing and am having fun,” said Kristina Groves after her race.

In the men’s 1000m, Morrison was second in 1:09.40, second only to American Shani Davis who took the gold in 1:09.21. François-Olivier Roberge (St-Nicolas, QC) finished in 5th place with a time of 1:10.33. Muncef Ouardi (Montréal, QC) placed 15th while Philippe Riopel (Lachenaie, QC) and Kyle Parrott (St. Albert, AB) came in 17th and 19th respectively. It was the first time of his carreer that Parrott raced in the A group.

“It feels really good to win a medal. The start of the season was slow because I had to adjust myself to new skates. But I believe to have found the right balance in equipment performance to match my technique” said a very satisfied Morrison “I think things are going to improve from now on”.

In the 500m race, speed skater Jamie Gregg (Edmonton, AB) raced to his carreer best with an 11th place. His teammate Muncef Ouardi finished 15th. In Group B, Denny Morrison and Kyle Parrott finished 3rd and 4th while François-Olivier Roberge finished 9th.

In the women’s 500m, Christine Nesbitt took 13th place and Shannon Rempel 15th place.
In group B, Danielle Wotherspoon (Red Deer, Alberta) was 8th to cross the finish line. Canadian teammates Tamara Oudenaarden and Kerry Dankers (Melville, SK) took the 12th and 15th positions.