A day before the great USA – Canada hockey rivalry plays out, the two countries battled on another sheet of ice.
Canada’s Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux beat the Americans in the men’s long track team pursuit at the Richmond Oval in what could be the last speed skating race at the complex. It is slated to become a multi-sport community center.
On Saturday, it was the site of the first medal of these Games for Canada’s men in long track speed skating.
“It’s so exciting to come home with gold,” Morrison said to CTV. “It’s been our dream since we were little kids.”
Morrison even put on a Canadian hockey jersey to skate his victory lap, echoing the country’s hopes for Sunday.
After dominating their first few races to get to the finals, the Canadian trio credits their teamwork for their success.
“We really pushed each other and we were the only country doing it,” Giroux told CTV. “That’s what saved us.”
During the final lap, Giroux put his hand on Makowsky’s back to help him keep up their pace.
Team USA closed the gap Canada had built up throughout the eight laps but didn’t have enough energy to over take them at the end, crossing the finish line 0.21 seconds behind.
The two 19-year-old American skaters, Brian Hansen and Jonathan Kuck, lead the way across the line, while 32-year-old Chad Hedrick struggled in the last lap and crossed last.
This was Hedrick’s final Olympic race; he’s won five Olympic medals in his career.
The Netherlands team won the bronze medal by beating Norway in Olympic record time. Dutch superstar Sven Kramer, who broke an Olympic record in the 5,000 metre race, lead his team for the entire race before breaking apart to cross the line at the same time.
Italy, the defending Olympic champions in men’s team pursuit, finished sixth after losing to Korea.
The Korean long track team has had a breakout Olympics this year. Seung-Hoon Lee, who competed in the team pursuit, won a silver in the 5,000 metre behind Kramer and a gold in the 10,000 metre race.
Team Sweden beat Japan, to place seventh place while Japan finished eighth.