Canada’s top speed skaters have post-Christmas showdown at Richmond Olympic Oval

Canada’s top speed skaters will begin racing for the first time at the Richmond Olympic Oval in the Canadian Single Distance Championships from December 27-31, 2008.

The Canadian Single Distance Championships are a key milestone in the national speed skating season as they are used as a selection event for the upcoming world sprint championships, the winter World Cup meets and the continental championships. This year’s championships are being hosted in British Columbia for the first time ever at the Richmond Olympic Oval, which will be home for the speed skating competition at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

“This will be the first opportunity to see elite level long track speed skating in the spectacular new Richmond Olympic Oval,” said Ted Houghton, Executive Director of the BC Speed Skating Association. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the sport and cheer on Canada’s team as they build toward the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.”

Canada’s powerhouse national speed skating team is enjoying another banner season with several podium finishes in the fall World Cup series, including victories by Kristina Groves and Christine Nesbitt.

Tickets for the Canadian Single Distance Championships will go on sale Friday, December 12 during the opening celebrations of the Richmond Olympic Oval and will be available at the Oval’s front desk thereafter and at the door during the competition.

Tickets for the event are just $8 per day for adults or $5 per day for children under 12. Children under 2 will be admitted free. Event passes, good for all five days of competition, will be $30 for adults and $15 for children.

Competition times and dates are below:

· Saturday December 27, 1 p.m. – Men and Women’s 500-metre

· Sunday, December 28, 1 p.m. – Women’s 3,000-metre; Men’s 5,000-metre

· Monday, December 29, 1 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s 1,000-metre

· Tuesday, December 30, 1 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s 1,500-metre

· Wednesday, December 31, 11 a.m. – Women’s 5,000- metre, Men’s 10,000-metre

For more information visit www.speed-skating.bc.ca or www.richmond.ca