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Canada wins speedskating gold in team pursuit

Saturday, February 27th, 2010 | 2:12 pm

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Canwest News Service

The men’s team pursuit collected Canada’s fifth and final long-track speed skating medal of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games on Saturday afternoon, defeating the United States in a head-to-head race for gold at the Richmond Oval.

The three-man group, comprising Fort St. John, B.C.’s Denny Morrison, former short-tracker Mathieu Giroux of Montreal and Regina’s Lucas Makowsky clocked in at at 3:41.37 for the eight-lap race, just 20/100ths of a second ahead of the Americans. As anchor for the group, Morrison skated four laps at the front, the opening two and back two.

During qualification Friday, the team established back-to-back Olympic records in eliminating Italy and Norway to reach the final. The gold medal is an upgrade from the silver won in Turin. Only Morrison, an alternate at that time, is back from that group.

The women’s pursuit, ranked No. 1 and world record holders, were shockingly dispatched by the Americans in a quarter-final match-up Friday night. Kristina Groves, Christine Nesbitt and Brittany Schussler won their C Event race Saturday over the Netherlands in a time of 3:01.02 to conclude their Games.

The gold medal secured Saturday is Canada’s second at the Oval, following Nesbitt’s in the women’s 1,500 metres. Kristina Groves finished with two, a silver and bronze, in the 3,000 and 1,500 respectively, while Clara Hughes, in her final Olympics, won bronze in the women’s 5,000.

The long-track medal total is down three from Turin four years ago, where Cindy Klassen collected four individual and helped the team pursuit claim silver.

Canada wins speedskating gold in team pursuit 5.051

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