Pedal to the medals for Canada

SUN WIRE SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

INZELL, Germany -- Canadian speed skaters Jeremy Wotherspoon, Denny Morrison and Shannon Rempel all won medals in World Cup action yesterday.

Japan's Joji Kato handed Red Deer's Jeremy Wotherspoon his first defeat this season at 500 metres. Kato, the former world record holder, timed 35.48 seconds in poor weather to beat Wotherspoon's 35.61, snapping the Canadian's streak of six World Cup wins this season.

Wotherspoon sits second in World Cup standings with 680 points, behind leader Kang-Seok Lee of South Korea with 712.

In the men's 1,000 m, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C. finished with 1:11:03 to grab silver behind Shani Davis of the U.S., who won in 1:10.58. Davis leads the season standings with 590 points to Morrison's 536.

In women's action, Winnipeg native Shannon Rempel won bronze in the 1,000. She finished at 1:19.24. Gold medal winner Anni Friesinger of Germany clocked 1:17.78.

BOBSLEDDERS MISS OUT

Canadians Helen Upperton and Kaillie Humphries narrowly missed the podium yesterday at the season-ending world bobsleigh championships in Altenberg, Germany.

Upperton, 28, finished fourth with a four-run time of three minutes 52.09 seconds. The Calgary pilot, who sat seventh following the first two runs Friday, rallied with brakeman Jennifer Ciochetti of Edmonton to make the push for a medal.

Rookie Kaillie Humphries, 22, also of Calgary led Canada 2 to fifth spot with a time of 3:52.53.

Humphries, who was a brakeman for Canada at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, began driving on the Europa Cup circuit last season where she finished first overall. She took control of Canada 2 this year with brakeman Shelly-Ann Brown of Pickering, Ont., and the two captured a bronze medal in December at Lake Placid, N.Y.

Lisa Szabon, of Nanton and Olympic brakeman Heather Moyse of Summerside, P.E.I., were 11th in 3:54.31.

TOUGH MOGUL COURSE

Canadians struggled yesterday in the moguls event at a World Cup freestyle ski competition in Inawashiro, Japan.

Vancouver's Sylvia Kerfoot was a season-best eighth in the women's event after suffering a bad fall prior to the qualification round.

"I felt a little bit like a ping-pong ball," she said. "It was a little humbling."

While Kerfoot, 30, said she still has work to do in moguls, she expressed reservations about whether the course is suitable, as it was set up yesterday, for the 2009 world championships.

"It's always a challenging course, and we always look forward to the worlds, but it depends on what kind of show they want to put on," said Kerfoot.

Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau of Drummondville, Que., was eighth in the men's event and was disappointed with that finish.

"It was predictable, it was very predictable," he said. "The course is already tough, but they didn't do a proper job, so it was even steeper, making it almost possible."

The course is 37 degrees at its steepest point, although the gradient is listed at 30 degrees.

Peter Judge, CEO for the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, didn't mince words about yesterday's results.

"Let's pretty well call a spade a spade; it was a disaster," commented Judge of what he says is easily the world's toughest course. "It's been carnage all week.

"We're going to have to look at how we prepare for the worlds. It's at the end of the season, so hopefully we'll be able to do some special preparation."

NORAM MEDALS FOR CANADA

Olivier Rochon of Gatineau, Que., clinched the NorAm overall men's aerials title with a second-place finish while Crystal Lee of Queensville, Ont., took gold in freestyle skiing at an event yesterday in Penticton, B.C.

They were among four Canadian medals on the day to give the development team aerialists 17 NorAm medals this season.

"I'm super stoked," said Lee, 19, of her NorAm win in the women's aerials that clinched third in the season's overall standings. "I'm just really happy about it. It's a good way to end my (NorAm) season."

It was a traffic jam in men's aerials, with the first six places separated by less than four points. Rochon's silver-medal score of 175.16, behind Australian David Morris' winning 175.76, gave Rochon the overall Grand Prix men's title.


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