Friday, March 13, 2009

World Speed Skating Championships - Day 2

Friday, day 2 of the ISU World Single Distance World Speed Skating Championship at the new Richmond Olympic Oval proved as exciting as day 1, and again both the U.S. and Canadian men and Canadian women did very well. But once again, the Canadian women ended up in minor controversy that denied them a gold medal.

The first event of the day was the men's 1000 meter. Trevor Marsicano, starting on the inside in heat 7 against Canadian Francois Olivier Roberge moved into first place with a time of 1:08.96.


He then had to wait through five more heats to see if his time would hold. Canadian Denny Morrison, skating in the second to last heat against Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands challenged, but his time of 1:09.00 only moved him into second.


American Shani Davis, coming off his win on Thursday in the 1500m, turned in a time of 1:09.02, which earned him the bronze.


With an all U.S./Canada podium, the near-sellout crowd in the beautiful new speed slating facility was primed for a potential medals sweep by a strong Canadian women's team in the ladies 1500m.


This proved to be an exciting race, with many of the women closely matched in the early heats.


And before the top-ranked Canadian women got to skate, they watched as Anni Friesinger of Germany, skating in heat 8, set the pace with a 1:58.66.


Then came the Dutch duo of Ireen Wust and Laurine van Riessen, skating in heat 9. Wust moved into second position with a 1:58.83.


Canadian Shannon Rempel, skating in heat 11 against Daniela Anschutz Thoms of Germany, just missed getting under 2 minutes, while Thoms moved into third position.


And then came the final heat, pitting Canadian Christine Nesbitt against her teammate Kristina Groves.


The two skated virtually side-by-side the entire race, but at the finish, it was Kristina Groves winning with a time of 1:57.75, with Nesbitt fourth in a time of 1:58.88.


Unfortunately, Groves victory was short-lived. She had touched one of the red pucks marking the separation between lanes, and was disqualified. This proved to be somewhat controversial, because in a new move, the pucks were actually set several inches inside the actual lane separation line.


With Groves removed, the gold medal went to Anni Friesinger of Germany, with Ireen Wust of the Netherlands second and Christine Nesbitt of Canada third.

The final race of the day was the men's 5000 meter.


In an event dominated by Dutch skaters, American Trevor Marsicano, skating in heat 10 against Italian Enrico Fabris, turned in a 6:20.02, which moved him into first place.


He then watched as first Havard Bokko of Norway, skating against Bob de Jong of the Netherlands in heat 11, moved into first place with a time of 6:18.02. And then Sven Kramer of the Netherlands, skating in the final heat of the day against teammate Carl Verheijen, improved on that by nearly 2 seconds, with a winning time of 6:16.20.


In the end, Marsicano was able to hold on for a bronze.


But his bronze medal in the 5000 meter now rounds out his gold earlier in the 1000, and his silver medal in yesterday's 1500. And American Shani Davis has a gold and a bronze. Neither skater will be on the ice on Saturday as competition heads into the long distance events.

You can find more photos from today's action on my Flickr site.

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