Photo: The Canadian Press

Morrison Ready for World Champs

Canada’s best long track speed skaters will get a good taste of the oval in Sochi, Russia as they head to the site of the 2014 Olympic Games to compete in the Single Distance World Championships from Mar. 21-24 held in the “Adler” Arena.

Denny Morrison (St. John, BC) will make an inspirational return to competition after the Olympic gold medallist broke the fibula in his left leg on Dec. 22. As the defending world champion in the 1,500m, Morrison says he believes he is fit enough to compete in the 1,000m race and will make himself available to be part of the team pursuit — an event in which he helped Canada win gold at Vancouver 2010.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good on the ice and getting good feedback from the coaches,” said Morrison. “Things have progressed pretty quickly and I’m feeling good overall. The 1,000m is where it’s at for me. I’ve been successful in the 1,000m this season. I’m really excited to have recovered this quickly. Thanks to my support staff for getting me ready.”

His coaches and training staff say they believe it would be advantageous for Morrison to get a proper feel for the Olympic venue and what competition could be like if he was to race at his third consecutive Winter Games in 2014.

Photo: The Canadian Press

Christine Nesbitt. Photo: The Canadian Press

“We brought Denny to Sochi because we thought it was important for him to be in the Olympic environment,” said Bart Schouten, one of Morrison’s coaches. “Over the last couple of weeks, Denny has had really good recovery. He’s further ahead than we thought he would be. We feel in the 1,000m he’s going to be pretty good and he will get some good experience in an Olympic environment.”

Joining Morrison will be London, ON’s Christine Nesbitt  (1,000m, 1,500m) who will be looking to defend her individual world titles along with her team pursuit title captured with Olympic legend Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) and Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB). In all, Canada will send 15 athletes to the competition.

The World Championships opens Thursday, Mar. 21 with the men’s 1,500m and women’s 3,000m. Friday, the men will skate the 1,000m and 5,000m, and the 1,500m for the women. The women have two races Saturday, the 1,000- and 5,000-metre distances, and the men have one race, the 10,000 metres. The season wraps-up Sunday with the two 500-metre races and team pursuit.

Live streaming of the event can be seen here and fans can find the CBC broadcast schedule here.