Nesbitt wins women's 1,000 meters

Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:03pm EST
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By Larry Fine

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Christine Nesbitt of Canada mounted a gutsy charge to the finish line to claim gold in the women's 1,000 meters at the Richmond Olympic Oval on Thursday, roared on by a fanatical crowd.

Nesbitt, the world champion and World Cup leader, claimed the Olympic title by a scant two-hundredths of a second in one minute 16.56 seconds that met with thunderous cheers when the time was posted.

Annette Gerritsen of the Netherlands took the silver in 1:16.58, with compatriot Laurine van Riessen the bronze medalist with a time of 1:16.72.

The Canadian, who was born in Australia before moving to Canada as an infant, was only 15th fastest after 200 meters, and ninth best at the 600-metres mark before she turned it on to thrill the local crowd.

She seemed disbelieving when coach Marcel Lacroix told her she was the winner, and he accompanied her on several victory laps pausing to stop by the barrier for a hug and kiss on the lips from her Dutch speed skating boyfriend Simon Kuipers.

The Dutch oompah band Kleintje Pils, which has been providing music at the venue, erupted into a rendition of "We Will Rock You" as the crowd and Canadian team rejoiced, before breaking into the Canadian national anthem.

(Editing by Jon Bramley)

<p>Christine Nesbitt of Canada celebrates winning the women's 1000 metres speed skating race at the Richmond Olympic Oval during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 18, 2010. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen</p>