Speed­skater Groves adds sil­ver medal to ear­lier bronze at Win­ter Olympics

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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.

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