Nesbitt claims women's 1000m speed skating victory for Canada

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Though almost tumbled at the finish line, Christine Nesbitt claimed the first speed skating gold for the host country when she lifted the women's 1000 meters trophy at the 21st Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver on Thursday.

In front of 6529 crazy home fans at the Richmond Olympic Oval, Nesbitt had a rusty start but surged back in the last 200 meters, winning in one minute 16.56 seconds when she almost tumbled at the finish line.

Ranked No.1 of the event, Nesbitt said: "I can't believe it's the Olympics, it doesn't feel real. I can't believe, it was too close for comfort."

"I knew I wasn't skating good. It wasn't coming easy. The first 600 m wasn't good. It happened to me before, but in the last leg I kept fighting and I knew it paid off."

Nesbitt was the second women speed skater to win the Olympic gold in the home country. She said the home fans gave her big support.

"I was totally not nervous at all. They were cheering me on and it made a big difference," Nesbitt said.

The Canadian also stopped a clean sweep by Annette Gerritsen and Laurine van Riessen of Netherlands, edging the two by 0.02 and 0.16 seconds.

Gerritsen, who fell in 1st race of 500m and placed 35th with 136.66 two days ago, said,"It's great. Two days ago it was disappointing. There were hard days also for the body and the muscles. Now it's beautiful."

"It's only two hundredths of a second. Happiness tops disappointment. I am happy with silver," Gerritsen said.

As Riessen hoped that all the sprinters would "die" in the last lap and that happened.

Lee Sang-Hwa, who became South Korea's Angel after stunning a group of big guns to lift the 500m title, managed 23rd while Jenny Wolf of Germany and Wang Beixing of China, silver and bronze medalists of the 500m, came to 17th and 24th.

Kristina Groves of Canada who stormed the fastest last lap time of 29.84 placed fourth in 1:16.78.

The men's 1500m starts on Feb. 20, when American star Shani Davis, winner of 1000m, is tipped the biggest favourite of the event.

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