Morrison, Nesbitt strike gold at speedskating worlds
Canadians Denny Morrison and Christine Nesbitt both won gold medals in the 500 metres Saturday at the world all-round speedskating championships in Hamar, Norway.
Morrison, from Fort St. John, B.C., skated a winning time of 35.55 seconds, beating Norway's Havard Bokko by 0.44 of a second. Konrad Niedzwiedzki of Poland was third in 36.04.
"I'm on target for next year," said Morrison, who will be shooting to win gold in the 500 at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
"I'm stronger physiologically than ever and it's just technical bugs I'm working out right now. I've made a lot of good improvements in the last four weeks of competitions and it showed today in my 500."
Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., finished 12th, and Lucas Makowsky of Regina was 19th in the 24-man field.
Nesbitt, from London, Ont., won the women's race in 38.87 seconds.
Alla Shabanova of Russia was more than half a second back in 39.53 while Ireen Wust of the Netherlands claimed bronze in 39.61.
"It's an important competition to see how to peak for this time of year," said Nesbitt.
"In that sense it's really important to figure out what works for me. It will be a good stepping stone because I'm skating pretty well but I want to skate better so we'll be able to measure what we can improve on in the program and in my technical skating."
Kristina Groves of Ottawa just missed the podium, finishing fourth in 39.71.
Brittany Schussler was eighth and fellow Winnipegger Clara Hughes was 23rd in the field of 24.
Groves was the top Canadian in the women's 3,000, finishing fifth behind winner Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic.
Morrison led all Canadians with a 13th-place finish in the men's 5,000, which was won by Sven Kramer of the Netherlands.
With files from the Canadian Press