Christine Nesbitt gets speedskating gold for Canada in 1,000 metres

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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VANCOUVER - With an awkward, last-second lunge for the line, Christine Nesbitt gratified Canada's gold medal goals with the tip of her elongated skate blade.
By not quite the narrowest of margins - two one-hundredths of a second - Nesbitt made the best Thursday of what she later described as a less-than-stellar performance, one she clearly didn't consider worthy of a win.
"I couldn't believe it, I did not think it was good enough," said the 24-year-old from London, Ont., who had a stunned look on her face as she accepted hugs and accolades after the race, and ascended the podium almost sheepishly during the flower ceremony.
"I feel like this is so weird. It doesn't feel like it just happened, like I don't feel I just won Olympic gold."
Annette Gerritsen and Laurine van Riessen, both of the Netherlands, claimed the silver and bronze medals.
Kristina Groves, who has already claimed bronze in the 3,000 metres, finished fourth - missing out on another medal by six one-hundredths of a second.
"I saw the four in brackets right away and was kind of, like, 'Darn,"' said Groves, 33, of Ottawa, who was pleased with her performance.
"I didn't realize until I saw the time that it was as close as it was."
Shannon Rempel, 25, and Brittany Schussler, 24, both of Winnipeg, finished 21st and 25th.
Nesbitt's triumph followed on the heels of a surprise silver Wednesday for Marianne St-Gelais of St-Felicien, Que., who celebrated her 20th birthday by coming second in the women's 500 metres.
American ski star Lindsey Vonn, looking for gold for the second straight day after gutting out a win in the previous day's women's downhill, needed only to make it through her run to claim a podium finish in the women's super combined.
She didn't.
Vonn, nursing one of the most talked-about bruised shins in modern alpine history, missed a gate midway through her race, blew a ski and watched the gold go instead to close friend Maria Riesch of Germany.
U.S. skier Julia Mancuso took second and Anja Paerson of Sweden - fearless despite an ugly crash on the same run on Wednesday - took the bronze.
Top Canadian honours went to Shona Rubens of Canmore, Alta., who finished in 12th, while Emily Brydon of Fernie, B.C., ended up in 14th.
"It was a little tough in the downhill but I think I had a pretty solid slalom run," said Rubens. "I'm happy with my day."
Not so Emily Brydon, who was disappointed she didn't put on a better show for the crowd. "When I fail, it's not only I fail myself but I fail the people."
Elsewhere on Olympic ice, Edmonton curling skip Kevin Martin continued his winning ways, dominating from the first end en route to a 7-3 win over Niklas Edin of Sweden.
Canada improved to 3-0, while Sweden dropped to 2-1.
In the biathlon, Tora Berger of Norway earned her first Olympic gold medal in the women's 15-kilometre individual biathlon race, which she dominated from start to finish.
Berger missed only one target - her very last shot - for a one-minute penalty during Thursday's race, but had such a large lead it didn't matter. She finished in 40 minutes 58.2 seconds, beating silver medallist Elena Khrustaleva of Kazakhstan by 20.7 seconds.
Darya Domracheva of Belarus took the bronze after finishing 28.2 seconds behind Berger.
Top Canadian was Megan Tandy of Prince George, B.C., in 50th.


Geographic location: Canada, VANCOUVER, Sweden London, Ont. Netherlands Ottawa Winnipeg St-Felicien Germany U.S. Canmore Fernie Edmonton Norway Kazakhstan Belarus Prince George

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