TURIN -- The faces on the podium weren't a surprise, but who the heck was that in fifth place?
Ottawa's Kristina Groves proved she can come up big under the brightest lights when she turned in the fifth-best time in yesterday's 1,000-metre women's speed skating race at the Winter Games.
"It was pretty exciting, especially because I don't really skate this race very often," the 29-year-old said. "I'm really happy with it."
A product of the Ottawa Pacers Speed Skating Club, Groves was competing in the distance for just the second time internationally. Normally, she's in the longer races.
Yesterday, though, she crossed the finish line in 1:16.54, well ahead of former Olympic sprint medallists Jennifer Rodriguez of the U.S. and Sabine Voelker of Germany.
Racing head-to-head with eventual gold-medallist Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands, Groves was actually in third place for a time, with seven pairs to come.
"It was fun to watch and see if I could stay up there for a bit," she said.
"And I really did."
Until yesterday, Groves' best individual Olympic result was an eighth-place finish in the 3,000 here and at Salt Lake City.
Last week, she won a silver as part of the women's pursuit team.
She'll also compete in Wednesday's 1,500 and Saturday's 5,000.