World record for Jeremy Wotherspoon at speed skating World Cup

KEARNS, Utah – Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., broke the world record in the men’s 500 metres on Friday to open the World Cup season in long track speed skating. Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., added a silver in Canadian record time in the 1,500.

Wotherspoon clocked 34.03 seconds to smash the previous world mark of 34.25 set here by Kang Seok-Lee of South Korea at the world championships last March. It was his career-leading 58th World Cup victory. Lee also went under his previous mark clocking 34.20 and Kyou-Hyuk Lee of South Korea was third in 34.31.

Jeremy Wotherspoon, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
‘’It feels really good to get going like this right off the bat,’’ said Wotherspoon, 31, who sat out last season to ponder his skating future. ‘’It’s hard to pinpoint exactly the key areas of my race. You sort of have to have everything in the race go pretty well. What I was most focused on was entering my turns a little better and getting off the start line really well and I did that well today.’’

Wotherspoon said an emphasis on improving technique has been beneficial.

‘’The key to speed skating is taking everything you have and putting it into the ice. When you make a positive change in your technique it affects every stride in the race and it adds up to a big difference. Technique is what makes you skate fast.’’

Mike Ireland of Winnipeg was 16th. In the B Group race, Vincent Labrie of St-Romuald, Que., and Mark Nielsen of Calgary tied for 2nd while Morrison was 4th.

In the men’s 1,500, Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands equalled the 1:42.32 world record time for the gold medal. Morrison took the silver medal in a Canadian record 1:42.79. That eclipsed his previous national mark of 1:42.97 set here in 2005. Shani Davis of the U.S., now the co-world record owner, was third in 1:42.92.

‘’I was really happy with my result,’’ said Morrison, 22, a double medallist at the world championships last year. ‘’What helped me the most for the 1,500 was just getting a proper warm up. That led me to a good feel on the ice and eventually a good race.’’

Steven Elm of Red Deer was eighth, Arne Dankers of Calgary 12th and François Olivier-Roberge of St-Nicolas, Que., 13th. Jeff Kitura of Langley, B.C., was 23rd.

In the women’s 1,000, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., missed a podium berth by 0.01 seconds finishing fourth in 1:14.32. Shannon Rempel, Cindy Klassen and Brittany Schussler, all of Winnipeg , were ninth, 11th and 13th.

Beixing Wang of China won both the 500 and 1,000-metre women’s races. In the 500, Nesbitt was 15th, Rempel 19th, Kim Weger of Regina 23rd and Klassen 27th. Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer was sixth in the B race.