Morrison ends lengthy gold drought
Olympic champion Denny Morrison claimed gold at the ISU Speed Skating World Distances Championships for the first time in four years as the curtain raised in Heerenveen.
The 26-year-old, who won the Olympic team pursuit title in 2010, last topped the podium at a World Championships in Nagano in 2008 – his one and only victory coming in the 1500m.
But he ensured four years of hurt was ended on the opening day in the Netherlands as he beat off competition from Ivan Skobrev and Havard Bokko by the narrowest of margins to win the 1500m again.
Canadian Morrison clocked a winning time of one minute 46.44 seconds, just five hundredths of a second ahead of Skobrev who in turn edged out defending champion by Bokko by one hundredth.
American Shani Davis, who won world 1000m and team pursuit gold as well as 1500m silver in Germany last year, was 0.14 seconds off the podium in fourth with Stefan Groothuis fifth.
Meanwhile Martina Sablikova took her tally of World Championship titles to eight with a dominant victory in the 3000m – only the second time she has ever won global gold over the distance.
The 24-year-old, from the Czech Republic, took 3000m gold in 2007 but only silver behind Ireen Wust last year however that wasn’t the case in Heerenveen as she won by nearly two and a half seconds.
Sablikova clocked 4:01.88 with Stephanie Beckert 2.21 behind to take silver ahead of last year’s champion and home hope Wust who recorded a time of 4:04.87.