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Clara Hughes Makes Speed Skating Canada\’s Olympic Team

Jan. 6, 2006 (Calgary, Alta.) — Clara Hughes is the first Canadian and second woman to win medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Hughes won two bronze medals in cycling at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games (Road, ITT), and a bronze medal in speed skating at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games (5000-metre long track). – Editor’s note

Skating Canada is pleased to announce the selection of 19 athletes to the Olympic roster eligible to compete in Torino, Italy.

The Canadian long track Olympic team, expected to be among Canada’s biggest medal producers in Turin, will be sending one of its most experienced and talented teams to the Winter Olympics

“Based on performances during the fall’s world cup competitions, this group of skaters have demonstrated they can achieve top 5 results and contend for medals in most events,” says Gregg Planert, chair Speed Skating Canada’s high performance long track committee.

Canadians have won 27 medals in five competitions thus far on the world cup circuit.

Olympians such as Clara Hughes and Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg, Kristina Groves of Ottawa and Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., will be joined by rising stars Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., and Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg, among others.

“Heading into Turin our athletes are legitimate medals contenders for 5 to 7 medals,” says Emery Holmik, high performance director for Speed Skating Canada. “That puts us on pace to achieve or surpass our best ever medal total in long track at the Games.”

Canadian speed skaters have won 5 medals on two previous occasions ˆ Lake Placid, USA in 1932 and Nagano, Japan in 1998.

Canadian short and long track speed skaters have won 18 of the 32 Canadian medals in the past two Olympics. This accounts for 56 percent of Canada’s medal tally.

The next major competition for Canada’s all round speed skaters will be the Continental Qualifiers in Calgary January 21-22. This competition will determine the number of skaters Canada qualifies for the World All Round championships being held in Calgary on March 18-19.

The Canadian sprint team’s next competition will be at the World Sprint Championships, January 21-22 in Heerenveen, NED.

Speed Skating Canada is the national governing body responsible for the advancement and growth of speed skating in Canada.

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