Denny Morrison came within fractions of a second away from becoming the most decorated Canadian athlete ever at the ISU Long Track Speed Skating World Single Distance Championships, as he finished fourth in the men’s 1000m held Saturday in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
Morrison (Fort St. John, B.C.) skated to a time of one minute and 8.72 seconds, his best this season at the international level, to provisionally hold first place with four pairs of skaters to go in the event. Dutch skater Kjeld Nuis, who was in the 12th and final pairing of the day, completed the race in 1:08.71 to take away the bronze from the Canadian Olympian.
“It’s frustrating to be so close, waiting to find out if the result is going to hold or not and having it slip away right at the end… But I’ve had my share of close wins as well through the years, where others have felt what I felt today,” Morrison pointed out. “In the end, this will serve as motivation for next year, and the following seasons as well.”
American skater Shani Davis won the race in 1:08.57 while Russia’s Pavel Kulizhnikov came up with silver in 1:08.61.
Friday, Morrison won the ninth individual medal of his career at the World Single Distance Championships by coming up with a silver medal in the 1500m. That tied him with Jeremy Wotherspoon and Kristina Groves for most all-time individual medals by Canadian skaters at the event. He will now have to wait at next year’s competition for a chance to move ahead alone.
Three of Morrison’s nine lifetime medals at the Worlds have been won in a 1000m. He collected silver in 2009, bronze in 2008 and silver in 2007 in that distance. He also won silver in the men’s 1000m race at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Morrison comes away from this year’s World Championships with two medals, having won a silver in the men’s team pursuit in addition to the 1500m.
Also in Saturday’s 1000m, Vincent de Haître (Cumberland, ON) and Richard Maclennan (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) respectively finished 12th and 14th, with times of 1:10.02 and 1:10.18. De Haître and Morrison skated in the same pairing.
Also fourth in the women’s pursuit
Canada also finished fourth in the women’s pursuit, Saturday, as Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa, ON), Kali Christ (Regina, SK) and Josie Spence (Kamloops, B.C.) (substitute: Heather McLean, Winnipeg, MN) skated to a time of 3:04.11, a little less than a second away from a podium. Japan won it in 3:01.53, while silver went to the Netherlands (3:01.55) and bronze to Russia (3:03.19).
Canada therefore improved on its showing at the last World Single Distance Championships, held in 2013, when Blondin, Christine Nesbitt and Britanny Schussler finished in eighth place.
Another top-10 for Bloemen
Sixth in Thursday’s 10 000m, Ted-Jan Bloemen (Calgary, AB) came up with his second top-10 result in an individual race this week, as he finished sixth in the men’s 5000m. He posted a time of 6:21.16, Saturday, his best at the international level in a 5000m this season. Sven Kramer led a Dutch sweep of the podium by winning the race in 6:09.55.
Presently taking part in his first World Single Distance Championships, Bloemen, 28, won his first medal with Canada, a silver medal, in Friday’s team pursuit. Before moving to Canada this summer, he previously skated with the Netherlands. He had notably skated to a third-place result in the men’s 5000m at the 2010 World All-round Championships.
Canada has never won a medal in the men’s 5000m since the World Single Distance Championships were launched in 1996.
In the women’s 500m, Marsha Hudey (White City, SK), Heather McLean (Winnipeg, MN) and Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB), respectively finished 17th, 22nd and 24th, all more than two seconds away from the winner, American skater Heather Richardson, following the two legs raced on Saturday.
Gregg, who switched over from short track to long track speed skating last summer, posted a personal best time of 39.655 seconds in the first leg of the event.
Sunday, on the last day of competition, Laurent Dubreuil will be taking part in the 500m, a distance where he has won four World Cup medals this season. Gilmore Junio will also race in the 500m, while Robert Watson and Tyler Derraugh will skate in the men’s mass start.
On the women’s side, Ivanie Blondin will be another medal hope, as she will skate in the mass start. She has won five medals this World Cup season in this discipline, including two gold. She will be joined by Kali Christ in Sunday’s race. Christ and Josie Spence will take part in the women’s 1500m.
The races will be webcast live on CBCca starting at 7:15 am (ET), and subsequently broadcast on the TV network as of 2 pm (ET).
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS:
17. Marsha Hudey (38.875 + 38.950)
22. Heather McLean (39.295 + 39.429)
24. Jessica Gregg (39.655 + 39.960)
4. Denny Morrison (1:08.72)
12. Vincent de Haître (1:10.02)
14. Richard Maclennan (1:10.18)
6. Ted-Jan Bloemen (6:21.16)
Team Pursuit W
4. Canada (3:04.11)
(Ivanie Blondin, Kali Christ, Josie Spence
More information, including detailed schedule, can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 13,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.
SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.
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Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Phone: 514 213-9897