Denny Morrison knew he had a good race in the 1,500m speedskating event at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
“It was probably the best race I had since I set the world record,” the Fort St. John skater said in a conference call from Sochi on Sunday. “I’d given it my all.”
Then, with the fastest time on the board, but a number of good skaters still to come, the waiting started.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking,” he said. “I told my coaches I thought I had a good time, and I wouldn’t be sulking no matter what.”
As it turned out, his time was beaten by two other skaters, meaning Morrison picked up a bronze medal to go with the silver he won earlier in the 1000m race. That gives Morrison four Olympic medals in his career, to go with team pursuit silver (2006) and gold (2010).
“I was always satisfied with the team medals,” he said, “but it’s a pretty special feeling to win an individual one.”
He feels the backing of the federal government and the coaching program set up by Bart Schouten have a lot to do with the success in Sochi.
“We’re so lucky in Canada to have programs like Own the Podium, where that support is there. Bart works on it so you’re peaking at the right time. You might not have great results some times, but you peak for the big races.”
He says the setting for the speedskating is “beautiful”
“It’s strictly for speedskating. That’s what the whole arena is designed for, which is really nice.”
Morrison and the rest of the pursuit team start their chase of another medal on Friday. He says this will be a pretty standard week of practice for the.
“We’ll practice Monday, then maybe have an easier day before we go hard on the pre-race day.”
And when the Olympic experience is over, he’ll be heading back to Fort St. John.
“I’m excited to return to Fort St. John. I get the chance to share my small-town story with kids, and show them anybody can make it this far.”