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    Sunday, January 4, 1998

    Morton and Overland win race-offs for spots on Olympic team

     CALGARY (CP) -- Michelle Morton of Calgary and Kevin Overland of Kitchener, Ont., won the first race-offs in the 500 metres for the fourth and final spot in the event at the long track speed skating Canadian Olympic team trials.
     In the women's 500, Morton clocked 39.62 seconds defeating Sylvie Cantin of Ste-Foy, Que., timed in 39.76. The second 500 race will be held today. The best combined time of the two races will determine the fourth Olympic spot in the event.
     Last week at the first part of the trials, world record holder Catriona Le May Doan of Saskatoon, Olympic silver medallist Susan Auch of Winnipeg and Linda Johnson Blair of Fort St. John, B.C., earned the first three spots.
     In the men's 500, the race off was between three skaters with Overland, who has qualified a spot in the 1,000, first in 36.02, Eric Brisson of Ste-Foy second in 36.31 and Kevin Scott of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., third in 36.40.
     Michael Ireland of Winnipeg, one of Canada's top 500 metre specialist the past three seasons, was unable to compete due to a groin injury.
     Last week, Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., Patrick Bouchard of Cap-Rouge, Que., and Sylvain Bouchard of Loretteville, Que., earned the first three spots.
     The Olympic team will be officially confirmed on January 7. Canada can ice a maximum 10 men and 10 women for Nagano.
     Competition continues today with the second and final part of the 500 race-offs. On Tuesday it's the 1,000 metre race-offs and Wednesday the 1,500 metre race-offs.
     CALGARY (CP) -- Sunday's results at the Olympic trial race-offs in long track speed skating (all distances in metres):
     MEN 500: (first of two races):
     1. Kevin Overland, Kitchener, Ont., 36.02 seconds; 2. Eric Brisson, Ste-Foy, Que., 36.31; 3. Kevin Scott, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 36.40.
     WOMEN 500:
     1. Michelle Morton, Calgary, 39.62; 2. Sylvie Cantin, Ste-Foy, 39.76.