Groves wins silver, second medal of Games

If anyone can appreciate a silver lining, it’s Kristina Groves.

The Ottawa native and gold medal favourite won silver in the 1,500m on Sunday, just 0.25 seconds behind Irene Wust of the Netherlands.

The Dutchwoman blazed a trail to gold in a time of 1:56.89.

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic took the bronze.

It was the second consecutive 1,500m Olympic silver medal for Groves, who also took the prize in Turin, and third silver of her olympic career, to go with a bronze last week in the 1,000m.

“Well I’m happy with the result, obviously, but I really wanted to win,” Groves told CTV. “It’s awesome to repeat….I was searching for that perfect feeling. I think this will feel good eventually.”

When asked of her opinion of skating conditions, Groves simply stated: “This ice is unforgiving.”

Success has never come easy for Groves, who moved to Calgary at age 18 to pursue Olympic glory. She has watched many of her peers realize their Olympic dreams before she ever reached the podium.

“It’s pretty unusual,” Grove’s coach, Xiuli Wang, told QMI Agency. “Lots of people when they’re age 25, 26 and they’ve never been there, they probably quit. Since 28, she started getting the medals. And in Turin, it built up her confidence. After that, she never had a doubt in her head.”

“I call her a working horse,” added Wang. “In a good way.”

The Canadian thoroughbred will have two more opportunities to vy for gold in Vancouver, in both the women’s 5000m and team pursuit.

London,Ont., native Christine Nesbitt,who won gold in the 1,000m, finished sixth.

Cindy Klassen, winner of five Olympic medals in Turin, who has returned after double-knee surgery, placed 21st to the sound of enthusiastic cheers at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

“It was pretty tough,” a smiling Klassen told CTV. “It was hard to get things going. I had a good first lap but I struggled with the rest of the race.”

Echoing Grove’s sentiments, she added, “you have to be pretty strong to do well at the end of a race here.”

Winnipeg’s Brittany Schussler, ranked fifth in the world, struggled on the oval, finishing 35th.

Wust, along with men’s champion Mark Tuitert, give the Netherlands the first dual Olympic gold in the 1,500m in 46 years.

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By: Danny Maloney
Posted: Feb 21 2010 11:05 pm
Filed under: Winter Games