Speedskater Groves adds silver medal to earlier bronze at Winter Olympics
RICHMOND, B.C. (CP) — Longtrack speedskater Kristina Groves has her second medal of the Vancouver Olympics, winning silver in the women’s 1,500 metres Sunday.
The 33-year-old from Ottawa finished in one minute 57.14 seconds. She was on track for gold until she ran out of steam on the final lap. Dutchwoman Ireen Wust won gold in 1:56.89.
“ That was a little disappointing for sure,” she said. “I just had maybe too much excitement. But Ireen skated amazing, I’m really happy for her. She’s a great competitor.”
Czech Martina Sablikova took the bronze in 1:57.96.
Groves also won a bronze in the 3,000 metres earlier in the Games. She’s Canada’s first multimedallist in Vancouver. When she received her medal on the podium at the Richmond Oval, Groves’s eyes filled with tears.
“I’m glad I got a silver but I’m a little disappointed with how I skated,” she said. “It wasn’t my best race and irrespective of the results that’s where I draw my satisfaction from at any race or any competition, is how I skated.”
Groves said she felt better in the 3,000.
“ I skated better technically and physiologically I was definitely a lot better in that race,” she said.
Canadian teammate Christine Nesbitt seemed headed to the podium before fading down the stretch. She finished sixth in 1:58.33.
The London, Ont., native won the gold in the 1,000 on Thursday.
“I didn’t think it was a bad race, I thought it was a pretty good race actually,” she said of the 1,500. “I think I skated way better than I did in my 1,000 technically, I just think the 1,000 took a lot more out of me than I realized. I didn’t realize how much stress and pressure I had on myself until afterwards.”
Nesbitt and Groves have dominated the 1,500 this season, each winning two World Cup races. They were both considered gold medal threats.
Groves and Nesbitt share an intense but friendly rivalry, each unwilling to play second fiddle to the other. After finishing second to Groves at the Calgary World Cup by eight-hundredths of a second in December, Nesbitt said it hurt more losing out to her teammate than someone else because she’d be reminded of it every day in training.
The two are now able to put that aside and combine with Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg to form the heavily favoured women’s pursuit team. The Feb. 26-27 race is up next for both Nesbitt and Schussler, while Groves will also skate the 5,000 Wednesday.
Schussler finished 35th on Sunday while Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg, a five-time medallist at the 2006 Olympics, finished 21st.
Groves earned an extra bit of redemption after she won the 1,500 at the world championships in Richmond last spring only to be disqualified for a slight touch of a puck dividing the lanes on a turn. She shrugged it off at the time as an important lesson learned, and her payoff came in this race.
Groves has four career Olympic medals — she won silver in the 1,500 and pursuit in Turin —and missed out on another in the 1,000 in Vancouver when she finished fourth by six-hundredths of a second.