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Olympic gold medalist Christine Nesbitt announces her retirement from long track speed skating

Submitted by ryan.ohashi on Fri, 06/05/2015 - 9:25am


Calgary, June 4, 2015 – After a successful career of 18 years in speed skating over which she won two Olympic medals, including gold in the long track 1000m race at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., announced today she is hanging up her skates at age 30.

On February 18, 2010, Christine Nesbitt thrilled Canadian sports fans at Richmond’s Olympic Oval, during the Vancouver Games, by winning Canada's first-ever gold medal in a women’s 1000m long track event at the Olympics.

That was the second Olympic medal of her career. She won silver in the women’s team pursuit at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, along with Clara Hughes, Kristina Groves, Cindy Klassen and Shannon Rempel.

“There are many factors that have led me to think this is the right time to move on,” said Christine Nesbitt. “I have had to deal with injuries that continuously plagued me over my last two years of skating, and while I am feeling healthier now, I am not confident that my body can stand up to full-time training, racing, as well as the stress and strain that come with what I would need to do to win medals again.

“I also have had time in my year of rehab to reflect on my career, and I am very proud of what I have accomplished. While I love skating, it just seems like the right time to move on.”

Three records
Since she started putting on the skates -- first in hockey, followed by short track speed skating at age 12 and long track at age 18 --, Christine Nesbitt saw her name written three times in the world record books.

She was the 1000m world record holder for almost a year, following a time of 1:12.68, which she clocked at the World Sprint Championships at Calgary’s Olympic Oval in January 2012. At that time, she beat the previous record that had been held by her teammate Cindy Klassen since March 2006.

Nesbitt, Groves and Klassen still hold the world record in the women's team pursuit event, with a time of 2:55.79, which they clocked in December 2009 in Calgary. That same trio also set a new Olympic record (3:01.24) in that event at the 2006 Torino Games. The Netherlands just recently beat that mark at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

Overall, in 12 years of long track speed skating, Christine Nesbitt won a total of 124 international medals.

At the World Sprint Championships, she won the world title in 2011 and finished second the following year. At the World Allround Championships, she took second spot overall in 2011 in Calgary, and third in 2012. At the World Single Distance Championships, she won a total of 12 medals, including three gold in the 1000m and team pursuit events, and another gold in a 1500m race.

In World Cups, she won a total of 106 medals, including 48 gold, 36 silver and 22 bronze. In season rankings, she was crowned overall champion in 2012, the 1000m champion in 2009, 2010 and 2012, and the 1500m champion in 2011 and 2012.

In 2012, she received the Oscar Mathisen Award, which is awarded annually to a long track speed skating athlete for outstanding performance over a season. She was also named Female Athlete of the Year in 2009 (Velma Springstead Trophy) as well as in 2010 and 2011 (True Sport Canadian Sports Awards).

“Christine’s successes are part of Speed Skating Canada’s as well as Canadian and international speed skating history”, said Speed Skating Canada President Jim Allison. “All Canadians remember her victory in the 1000m at the 2010 Olympic Games. When I think about it, I still have goose bumps.”

“On behalf of the Canadian speed skating community, thank you Christine and good luck with your upcoming projects. You will always remain an inspiration, all around the world!”

“Congratulations to Christine on her tremendous 18-year speed skating career”, added the President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Marcel Aubut. “You have provided so many great memories for Canadians to be proud of. From everyone at the Canadian Olympic Committee, we thank you for your dedication to growing the Olympic Movement in Canada.”

A special thank you
Christine Nesbitt took the opportunity to thank the many people who contributed to her successes throughout her career, including her coaches Marcel Lacroix, who was at her side in 2010, and Xiuli Wang, who has coached her since the 2010 Olympic Games.

“I know the closest people to me during my career, like my coaches Marcel Lacroix and Xiuli Wang, know that I appreciate them and owe my success to who they are”, said Christine Nesbitt. “However, I have often been too shy and not vocal enough to let many people know how they have supported me and helped me throughout my years in Calgary. The success and fun I’ve had skating was made possible not only by the people I've seen daily for 12 years, but also by people behind the scenes, or who appear infrequently but at the right times.

“I met so many friends and teammates that haven’t been to the Olympics or travelled with me to World Championships, but their great attitudes and work ethic challenged me every day. I had so much fun with them, and I would like to thank them.”

Christine Nesbitt is looking to finish her honours degree in Geography at the University of Calgary within the next year, and plans to attend graduate school afterward.

More information can be found on Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.

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