|Posted on March 22, 2012 at 6:55 PM|
by Katie Maximick Staff Writer- 22.03.2012
Victoria Times Colonist- Denny Morrison celebrates after winning the 1,500-metre race at the ISU World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen on Thursday.
“I surprised even myself today. It feels awesome.”
That's how Fort St. John’s Denny Morrison described his emotions following his long-awaited 1,500-metre win in the Netherlands on Thursday.
Morrison, who hasn’t won an individual speed skating race since 2008, finally snapped his winless streak by finishing first in the 1,500 at the World Single Distance Championships in Heerenveen.
“It’s surprising,” he said. “It’s my first time winning the 1,500 in a couple of years, so again like in 2008, I did it at the right time.”
At the 2008 worlds Morrison won gold in the 1,500 and bronze in the 1,000 metres, and has been struggling ever since to reclaim that success.
In the past few weekends, Morrison has failed to break into the top five in the World Cup and is relieved to finally put the rough patch behind him with Thursday's win.
“I was actually skating technically how I wanted to the last couple weekends,” he said, “But I actually came down with a stomach illness and just couldn’t finish my races, or finish at top speed."
It was obvious that Morrison was no longer ailing as he had one of the fastest starts of his career on Thursday.
"I knew coming in here I could put together something good as long as I skated well, and that’s what I did," he said.
On the second bend Morrison had to hold himself back to keep from crashing into American speed skater Shani Davis as he came up behind him.
“It was tight, tighter than I thought it was going to be. It was my plan to open hard and try to tuck in behind Shani [Davis] and relax on that backstretch and it didn’t really work out.”
But Morrison insisted that he wasn't interfered with by Davis, that it didn't interfere with his race and that no disqualification should occur.
Despite the near accident, Morrison managed to keep up both his speed and concentration to finish first with one minute, 46.44 seconds, beating Russia’s Ivan Skobrev by only 0.05 seconds.
Defending champion Havard Bokko from Norway finished third with a time of 1:46.50, 0.01 seconds slower than Skobrev.
Cindy Klassen was sixth in the women's 3,000-metre race with a time of 4:07.14 and fellow Winnipegger Brittany Schussler tied for eighth in 4:09.53.
This season Morrison was fourth overall in the 1,500 and 1,000, his best second in the 1,500 in Kazakhstan and second in the 1,000 at Salk Lake City in January.
Morrison and then men will race again in the 1,000-metre race on Friday.