Speedskater Nesbitt stays perfect in 1500
Christine Nesbitt isn't getting too caught up in her run of dominance to open the long-track speedskating season.
Instead, she's just enjoying it, and that approach seems to be working out just fine.
Nesbitt raced her way to a third straight 1,500-metre victory and then joined forces with Brittany Schussler and Cindy Klassen to win the team pursuit Sunday at the World Cup event Sunday in Hamar, Norway.
The native of London, Ont., posted a time of one minute 58.00 seconds to remain unbeaten in the 1,500 so far. The Olympic champion in the 1,000 metres is 2-for-2 at that distance, too, giving her six gold medals already this World Cup campaign.
"It's kind of interesting," said Nesbitt. "Last year I remember when I won four 1,000s in a row, by the third and fourth time that I went to the line trying to continue being unbeaten, it was really, really hard for me mentally.
"This year I've been … distracted from thinking too much or worrying too much about keeping some type of winning streak. So I feel like I've just been able to go into every race like, 'OK, let's see what I can do today.' And that's been nice."
Nice as it's been for her, it's been too much for her opponents.
Dutchwoman Marrit Leenstra was second in 1:58.03, followed by Schussler 1:58.96. Fellow Winnipeg native Klassen was sixth in 2:00.16.
The result was a rewarding one for Schussler, who was fifth in the first two 1,500 races of the season.
"I'm really excited about it," she said. "After [Saturday's] 5,000, I was really tired and I started to really feel the accumulation of racing the last couple of weeks, so I was a bit nervous going into it.
"But I think feeling so much fatigue actually helped me skate better technically than I have in the last two 1,500s."
The three Canadians regrouped after the 1,500 and were decisive winners in the team pursuit in a time of 3:00.90. The Russians were second, exactly a whopping three seconds behind, while the Dutch team was third in 3:04.62.
"I think we were surprised by the finishing time, for sure," said Nesbitt. "To win by that big of a margin -- I didn't expect us to go that fast."
Canada took a did not finish in the first team pursuit at the previous World Cup in Berlin after Kristina Groves of Ottawa fell. The strong time was a boon for the women.
"I knew we could skate a really good race and three of us have been really strong, so that was great," said Schussler. "To get such a strong time after what happened last week was nice.
"It's a good confidence booster for our team."
Lucas Makowsky of Regina was last among the 12 skaters in the men's 10,000 with a time of 13 minutes 56.42 seconds.
Bob de Jong of the Netherlands picked up his second long-distance win of the season in 13:05.83 to beat Russian Ivan Skobrev by 5.43 seconds. Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands finished 8.15 seconds behind in third place.