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Possible pseudo-sciency reason for Nesbitt's struggle

Fourth-Place Medal

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Before breaking out the bad-to-Wüst puns, there is a curious explanation for Canada's speed skating struggles at the Richmond Oval.

Christine Nesbitt, the gold-medal favourite, faded over the final lap to finish in sixth place in the women's 1,500-meter speed skating, with the Netherlands' Ireen Wüst winning the gold medal with Canada's Kristine Groves taking silver. Groves also was on a gold-medal pace until the final lap.

Wüst's victory gave the Dutch, who are speed skating dynamos, seven medals at the Oval to Canada's three. Perhaps this has been mentioned before, but the Canadian team's elder stateswoman, Cindy Klassen, who finished 21st, did offer CTV what seemed like a plausible explanation.

Klassen pointed out that since Richmond Oval is at sea level, racing there is different than competing "at altitude," like in Calgary or Salt Lake City, two past Olympic cities.

Meantime, the Dutch team, from a low-lying country, are thriving in the conditions. Consider this more of a just-sayin', from someone who never pulled higher than a B-minus in science. It does raise questions about where Canada is on the sport-science front. It's always convenient to believe an athlete choked, but let's face it, they are human guinea pigs for the latest training and technological innovations. Groves and Nesbitt lost time over the final lap. Wüst had no issues.

Meantime, Canada has just one gold at the Oval, Nesbitt's in the 1,000, plus Groves' silver and bronze. The men's team is empty-handed.

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