January 28, 2012

Canadian speedskater Christine Nesbitt broke the world record in the 1,000 meters Saturday in the world sprint championship.

Nesbitt, the Olympic champion in the 1,000, finished in 1 minute, 12.68 seconds at the Olympic Oval to break the mark of 1:13.11 set by Canadian Cindy Klassen in 2006 on the same ice.

"It felt really, really powerful and it was the first time this year where I felt like every single stride, I felt a lot of pressure and a lot of power going into the ice," Nesbitt said.

"This was a better race than my Olympic gold-medal race, so that's really cool. I think it's probably one of biggest accomplishments to set a world record and on top of that, one of Cindy's."

Nesbitt is the defending world women's sprint champion. She led after the first day of competition Saturday and will race another 500 and 1,000 on Sunday when the men's and women's winners are crowned.

The sprint title is determined by skaters' times over two distances - the 500 and the 1,000 - skated twice. Times are converted into points. Nesbitt led Jenny Wolf of Germany by 0.56. Hong Zhang of China was third, 0.58 behind Nesbitt.

A slight slip coming out of the first turn in the 500 earlier Saturday had Nesbitt flailing her arms momentarily. The mistake cost her time as she finished eighth.

"I was pretty frustrated after my 500," she said. "I thought I had a good race even though I had a slip in the first corner. Then I saw the finishing time and was not happy with it. It felt better than the time reflected. I was kind of going through all different scenarios in my head before the 1,000. I kind of got a little bit angry and I race well when I'm angry, so I think it was good."

Nesbitt was advantageously paired in the 1,000 with Annette Gerritsen of the Netherlands, a notoriously fast starter whom Nesbitt used as her pacer.

"I wanted to keep her as close as I could and kind of pull her in as quickly as possible," Nesbitt explained. "I was actually able to do that in the first 200 meters, which was unusual for me."

Lee Kyou-hyuk of South Korea led the men's field ahead of runner-up Dmitry Lobkov of Russia and Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands.

Moved Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 19:35:25 Eastern, UTC -500

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