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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 22, 2010

Dutch skater claims gold in 1,500 meters

 •  It's Miller Time: Bode finally golden

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The Netherlands' Ireen Wust beat a couple of strong Canadian contenders to win the gold in the 1,500 meters.

KEVIN FRAYER | Associated Press

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RICHMOND, British Columbia Coasting along in the practice lane, Ireen Wust realized she had another gold while the last two skaters were still on the track.

The Dutch woman pumped both arms toward the roof of the Richmond Olympic Oval, while a stunned home crowd watched favorite Christine Nesbitt labor across the finish line.

With an astonishing final lap, Wust won the gold in the 1,500 meters yesterday.

"Pulling all the pieces together, I'm so proud and happy. I can't describe how happy I am. I don't have words for it," Wust said. "I think I'm the happiest person on Earth right now."

Canada had two strong medal contenders in Nesbitt and Kristina Groves. But Nesbitt, winner of the 1,000, burned herself out and had nothing left for the final lap, fading to a disappointing sixth-place finish.

Groves did give the Maple Leaf-waving crowd something to cheer about, claiming the silver. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic added to the gold she won in the 3,000 by taking bronze.

Skating in the 15th of 18 pairs, Wust was faster than anyone on the last lap except Sablikova and powered across the line in 1 minute, 56.89 seconds. Groves was next in 1:57.14, while Sablikova rallied for third at 1:57.96.

Nesbitt went in the final pair and had the crowd in a frenzy when she was seventh-hundredths ahead of Wust's pace with a lap to go. But Wust put up an amazing time of 31.54 on her final trip around the oval a pace that Nesbitt, or anyone else for that matter, simply couldn't match.

With a good 50 meters to go, Wust threw up her arms in the practice lane as she coasted into the first turn as part of her warmdown.



A few hours after learning of her mother's sudden death, Joannie Rochette was back on the ice. Dressed in black tights and a black Canadian team hoodie, she appeared in the runway as the rest of the skaters in her practice session took the ice.

Rochette quickly settled into the comfort of her practice routine. She showed no lapses in concentration, jumped well and did a light run-through of her tango short program, even flashing a saucy smile at one point. In the stands, her father repeatedly rubbed his eyes.

"Joannie is doing as well as one can expect. It has been an emotional roller coaster for her," Skate Canada CEO William Thompson said.

Therese Rochette, 55, had a massive heart attack after arriving in Vancouver on Saturday, said David Baden, Rochette's agent. She was taken to a Vancouver hospital, where she was pronounced dead early yesterday, Skate Canada said.



Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will go into the final leg of the competition in first place.

They won the original dance yesterday with a powerful flamenco performance.

Virtue and Moir, medalists at the last two world championships, scored 68.41 points to edge Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White. With 111.15 points overall, Virtue and Moir lead Davis and White their training partners by 2.60 points going into tonight's free dance.

Reigning world champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin dropped to third, with Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto fourth.


Ukrainian ski jumper Vitaliy Shumbarets has been taken to a hospital after crashing during training at Whistler Olympic Park.

Organizers say Shumbarets did not appear to be seriously injured, but was momentarily unconscious and was airlifted out of the ski jump venue.

Shumbarets lost control midway through his training jump on the large hill yesterday and landed face forward on the snow before tumbling down the slope.


The U.S. women lost, 9-2, to Canada, then, 9-3, to defending champion Sweden.

The U.S. men lost, 4-2, to the Brits.