Kristina Groves Will Rebound Today – But Not With A Vengeance
|DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS|
|Groves in a groove.|
Watch for Canada’s Kristina Groves to rip it up today at the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships.
It won’t be because she’s looking for redemption after getting disqualified for mistakenly kicking one of the plastic pucks on a curve after clearly being the best skater in yesterday’s 1,500 metres – it’s a new and controversial rule instituted this year.
If she excels today in the women’s 1,000- and 5,000 metre races, it will be because she’s demonstrated an ability to shine at the big events – five medals at this worlds last year – and because as she demonstrated yesterday she’s in top form and got her rhythm on the ice here.
Groves made it clear yesterday she was thrilled with her performance, despite the DQ, called it “the race of my life.” The feeling she took away from skating at that level was much more important to her than any gold medal.
And it’s that feeling she will be focused on trying to replicate today – not avenging what happened in the 1,500. There’s nothing to avenge. She made a mistake. The rules are the rules; they had to disqualify her and she knows it.
But she also knows she bested German speed skating queen Anni Friesinger by nearly a full second – Friesinger knows it, too. The winner of 12 world titles at this event hasn’t been spanked like that in a long time, no doubt. It’s given her something to think about as she gears up for the last Olympics in a storied career.
Rumour Mill: One rumour floating around yesterday was that a vote was taken among the speed skating nations at a team leaders meeting on whether the rule about immediate disqualification for dislodging pucks should be amended.
The vote wouldn’t have changed the rule because only the International Skating Union could do that; it was more just a straw poll.
The scuttlebutt is that every nation voted that it should be changed except for one – Canada. Again, it wouldn’t have had any bearing on the women’s 1500-metre result.
Crockett Stands Firm: Kevin Crockett, former Canadian Olympic medalist turned coach for the Chinese team, has been unrepentant for his remarks in the Star earlier this week, blasting Speed Skating Canada for going overboard in trying to exploit the home ice advantage.
Crockett, who was escorted out of the Oval when he brought his Chinese skaters here to train in January, has made it clear he stands by his strong words. It could get interesting on Sunday after his star skater, world champion Beixing Wang, competes in the women’s 500 metres.