Chris­tine Nes­bitt’s gold in 1,000 lifts team’s spir­its, gives her fuel for 1,500

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY SHI DAVIDI

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.”

The Cana­dian Press

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.

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