Christine Nesbitt’s gold in 1,000 lifts team’s spirits, gives her fuel for 1,500
top spot with one pairing left to go.
When the 24-year-old from London, Ont., first saw her time she grimaced, thinking it wasn’t going to hold, and when it did — by a mere two one-hundredths of a second over Dutchwoman Annette Gerritsen — she looked stunned, unsure how to celebrate even as she circled the ice before an ecstatic crowd.
She sought out her family, got a big hug and kiss from her boyfriend, Dutch speedskater Simon Kuipers, and looked sheepish as Lacroix and others encouraged her to celebrate.
“I feel like this is so weird,” Nesbitt said. “It doesn’t feel like it just happened, like I don’t feel I just won Olympic gold.”
She did, and now the longtrack team is really rolling at the Olympics.
Nesbitt’s medal is the second for the speedskaters and Kristina Groves of Ottawa just missed making it three, finishing fourth behind Dutchwoman Laurine van Riessen’s 1:16.72 by six one-hundredths of a second. Perhaps it was karma catching up with Groves, who squeezed out a bronze in the 3,000 by three onehundredths of a second last Sunday.
“I saw the four in brackets right away and was kind of like, ’darn’,” said Groves. “I didn’t realize until I saw the time that it was as close as it was. I did the best I could and, for me in the 1,000, that was a great result.”
The same can be said for Nesbitt, even though the relentless self-critic was loath to admit it and acted more like she had missed the podium entirely, rather than stood atop it.
She called her skate “probably my worst 1,000 of the season,” and the flower ceremony was barely over before she was thinking about ways to improve for the 1,500 on Sunday, an event in which she and Groves will be leading contenders with two victories each on the World Cup circuit.
Even when she wins, Nesbitt is never satisfied, and through her eyes, Thursday’s performance left a lot to be desired, no matter the final result.
“It wasn’t pretty, I know it wasn’t pretty and I’ve skated a lot better 1,000s this year so it’s hard for me not to be critical because that’s how I’ve improved,” said Nesbitt.
“I’m always looking at my races and wanting to improve all the time, and I wanted to improve so I could win the Olympics.
“Because I’ve just been practising it so much, it’s only natural for me to want to criticize everything I do in skating. Once I get over that, I’m going to be happy.”
Canadian speedskater Christine Nesbitt skates with the Canadian flag after winning the gold medal in the women’s 1,000-metre long-track speedskating event at the Olympic Winter Games in Richmond, B.C., Thursday.