Gold Pursued and Gold Reached

In one of the most exciting races ever at the Richmond Oval, the Canadian men’s pursuit snatched gold fractions of a second before the United States team could. Theirs was the first gold medal by Canada yesterday, and the first in men’s speed skating at these Games.

Canada captured silver in the first Olympic incarnation of team pursuit four years ago in Turin. This time, the team of Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux won gold, making first-time Olympic champions out of all three skaters.

“It is just surreal now,” said Makowsky. “The three of us are pretty close to a dream team, we skate so well together.”

The margin of victory was just two-tenths of a second, and may be owed to a strategy devised by coach Marcel LacroixIt sees the third skater tap second who taps the lead skater – in this case Morrison – on the butt to help maintain speed on straight-aways. That slight boost may have made the difference.

“I gave it everything I had out there,” said Morrison, who competed in four races in 2010. “It couldn’t be a better feeling.”

The pursuit gold is the fifth medal won by speed skaters in Vancouver.