Canadian speed skaters sputter to bronze-medal race

Canada's Denny Morrison leads his teammates in the men's speed skating team pursuit semifinals...

Canada's Denny Morrison leads his teammates in the men's speed skating team pursuit semifinals during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 21, 2014. (PHIL NOBLE/Reuters)

Steve Buffery, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:11 PM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - Canada hummed like a Ferrari to start the men’s speed skating team pursuit semifinals Friday, but then sputtered like an Edsel.

The result? A trip to the bronze medal race.

The Canadian men — Denny Morrison of Calgary, Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, Que. and Lucas Makowsky of Regina — jumped out to a substantial lead over the South Korean team, moving ahead by 1.10 seconds after four laps. But by lap eight, they had dropped behind by 0.02 and lost the semi by almost three seconds (3:42.32 to 3:45.28). Morrison, Giroux and Makowsky were all on the team that struck gold in the event four years ago in Vancouver.

The loss to Korea means that Morrison will not get a gold medal to go along with a silver and bronze he has already won at the Sochi Games.

“We’ll have to talk about that in the change room and see what we need to change for (Saturday),” said Morrison. “Ultimately, we just need to go faster. But we are three different guys with different strengths. For me, in the 1500m it works for me to go out fast and hang on.”

The Calgary native has won a silver (1,000m) and a bronze (men’s 1,500m) at the Sochi Games and was hoping for a gold in the men’s team pursuit event. Canada will now go against Poland for the bronze medal Saturday. The Poles lost to the Dutch in the second semi by a staggering 11.29 seconds, apparently saving their energy for the bronze medal race. That didn’t sit too well with Morrison.

“Those guys basically didn’t even race their semifinal, they just gave it to the Dutch, so if that’s their attitude in the Olympics, it will be interesting to see what they bring to the bronze (medal race) because we have heart,” said Morrison. “If we had skated against the Dutch, we’d have skated our hearts out and tried to beat them.”

Morrison’s silver in the 1,000m came as a result of teammate Gilmore Junio giving up his spot to Morrison, who then went on to finish second.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun

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