Olympics

Morrison picks up bronze medal in 1,500m speed skating

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CBC
2/15/2014 12:34:19 PM
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Denny Morrison is having the Olympics of a lifetime.

Three days after taking silver in the men's 1,000-metre long track speed skating event at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Morrison has added a bronze to his cabinet, this time in the 1,500 metres on Saturday.

"It's been a long road with a lot of persistence and it's finally paid off," an elated Morrison told CBC Sports after the race.

Morrison, skating 15th of 20 pairs, capitalized on a strong opening lap to lay down a time of one minute, 45.22 seconds, and was the leader until Poland's Zbigniew Brodka topped it for gold in 1:45.00.

"What I've found [in 1,500-metre races] is that I can't go out slow and conservative and try to beat the other guys who finish strong, I have to go out my way – go out fast, and just hang on," Morrison said.

"And I was able to hang on just enough."

There was more drama to come in the final pairing. Dutch skater Koen Verweij finished in a dead heat with Brodka, crossing the line in 1:45.00 as well. When the times were adjusted, Brodka ended up with the gold medal, a mere three thousandths of a second ahead.

But it also meant that Morrison had his medal, after an agonizing wait to see if any of the 10 skaters after him could take his place on the podium.

"It is [excruciating], you already want to puke," he said. "You're already so tired and hurting, but man does it feel good to win [a medal]."

Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., finished in 19th in 1:47.65. Lukas Makowsky of Regina placed 28th in a time of 1:48.51. Teenager Vincent de Haitre of Cumberland, Ont., was 33rd in 1:49.42.

Morrison's bronze puts Canada's medal count at 12, with four gold, five silver, and three bronze. Morrison, Giroux and Makowsky are expected to compete in the team pursuit event next week, as they attempt to defend their gold medal from the Vancouver Olympics.

Morrison's efforts have been one of the highlights of the Olympics so far for Canada. Not even scheduled to compete in the 1,000-metres after falling in the event at the Canadian trials, Morrison was given a spot in the race thanks to teammate Gilmore Junio, who gave up his.

The Fort St. John, B.C., native fully took advantage of the opportunity, taking silver in the 1,000 metres behind Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands.

Defending Olympic champion Mark Tuitert of the Netherlands finished fifth. American Shani Davis continued his disappointing 2014 Olympic campaign with an 11th-place finish.

Canada now has two medals in long track, both from Morrison.

The Dutch team has dominated the proceedings at Adler Arena, taking four gold and 13 medals so far in only seven races, matching the record set by East Germany in the 1988 Games in Calgary.

With five long track events still remaining, the Netherlands will likely surpass that mark in the coming days. To compare, the other nations have eight long track medals combined.

It's a big turnaround for the Dutch team from their Vancouver effort in long track, where it finished well below expectations with three gold and only seven medals total.

Denny Morrison (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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