Wotherspoon stirs up more gold at speed skating World Cup

CALGARY – Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., posted his fourth victory in five races this season on Friday winning the men’s 500-metre race to open the second stop on the long track speed skating World Cup circuit. Kristina Groves of Ottawa added a bronze in the women’s 3,000.

In the men’s 500, Wotherspoon clocked 34.23 seconds for his career leading 61st World Cup victory in men’s competition. Dmitry Lobkov of Russia was second in 34.35 and Joon Mun of South Korea third in 34.43.

"This week felt a little bit different than last week, just because I hadn't had as much time on the ice here as I did prior to the World Cup in Salt Lake City," said Wotherspoon, the winner of all three 500 World Cup races this season.

"It was kind of a hectic week with different things I had to do, so considering that, I was really happy with coming out here today and doing a pretty good job of focusing on my race and being really into it and coming out with a win."

Vincent Labrie of St-Romuald, Que., was 13th, Mike Ireland of Winnipeg 17th and Mark Nielsen of Calgary 19th. Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., won the B Group race.

Kristina Groves, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
In the women’s 3,000, Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic took the gold in 3:55.83, Renate Groenewold of the Netherlands was second in 3:55.98 and Groves followed in 3:58.78 improving two spots over last weekend’s finish in the event.

Clara Hughes of Winnipeg was fifth and Cindy Klassen, also of Winnipeg, 11th. In the B group, Nicole Garrido of Edmonton was second and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg fifth.

‘’Last weekend was a bit of a weird one for me so I’m glad to get off to a good start here,’’ said Groves, a silver medallist in last weekend’s 1,500, a day after being disqualified in the 1,000. ‘’I was only a 0.1 seconds off my personal best so I’m happy with that performance. I improved my rhythm in the straightaways and I started off much faster than usual.’’

In the women’s 500, Jenny Wolf of Germany was the winner lowering her world record to 37.02 seconds. In the B Group race, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was third, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., fifth, Kim Weger of Regina seventh, Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer 12th and Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., 17th.

In the 1,500, Simon Kuipers led the Netherlands to four of the top-five placings. Shani Davis of the U.S., was second.

Arne Dankers of Calgary was eighth, Steven Elm of Red Deer ninth, François-Olivier Roberge of St-Nicolas, Que., 14th, and Morrison 19th.

Competition continues through to Sunday at the Olympic Oval.