Catriona Le May Doan Encourages Canadians to Vote for Finalists in the ING Speed Skating Challenge – Canada’s Best Speed Skating Story will come from Nunavut or Alberta

Calgary, Alberta – Over the past four weeks, over 35,000 Canadians have voted online to determine the finalists in the first annual ING Speed Skating Challenge.

The title of Canada’s Best Speed Skating Story will be awarded to either Sarah Ali representing the Iqaluit Speed Skating Association in Nunavut or Alastair Starke representing the Lloydminster Border Blades Speed Skating Club in Alberta.

As part of ING’s commitment to the growth of speed skating in communities across Canada, the finalists will also take home cash donations of $5,000 or $2,500 for their clubs.

Catriona Le May Doan has been impressed by the quality of the video stories and understands why both Sarah and Alastair have come this far.

“Sarah and Alastair are both great storytellers. They show that young skaters in Canada have something to say about their sport. I’m really impressed by how different both stories are but they share one thing – a genuine passion for speed skating,” said Catriona. “I’d like to encourage all Canadians to get online, watch these stories, and vote.”

For 16-year-old finalist Sarah Ali, getting to the final is a dream come true. "I honestly never thought my video from up north would make it to the final of this nationwide competition. I am hoping that from this competition Iqaluit Speed Skating Association and other small clubs will be encouraged," said Sarah.

Alastair Starke generated support for his story with a grassroots campaign in his hometown. “Lloydminster may not be the biggest community, but it always supports its own. I was interviewed by three local radio stations, both of our local newspapers and the story received wide coverage on our local television station. Our club has really worked together to spread the word about the video,” added Alastair.

Voting in the final round continues online at INGSpeedSkatingChallenge.com and closes Friday, March 14, 12 Midnight MST.

Both finalists will be flown to Calgary for the ING Video Awards Party hosted by Catriona Le May Doan and the winner will be crowned on Saturday, March 15, 2008.

MEET THE FINALISTS

Sarah Ali
• Club: Iqaluit Speed Skating Association, Nunavut
• Story title: Nunavut Pride
• 16-year-old Sarah Ali has been speed skating for six years in her hometown of Iqaluit. She counts representing Nunavut at competitions as her skating highpoint, but also really wants to be a positive role model for younger skaters at her club.

Alastair Starke
• Club: Lloydminster Border Blades Speed Skating Club, Alberta
• Story title: Durness Oval Story
• Alastair Starke’s story sounds like a something right out of a Hollywood script. When the 17-year-old needed a place to train for the Alberta Games, he built an oval on a frozen slough on his family’s farm just outside of Lloydminster, Alberta.

Please note: Stories are available in original format for editorial use upon request.

ING SPEED SKATING CHALLENGE PRIZES

ING and Speed Skating Canada partners have provided over $25,000 in prizes for clubs and young skaters.

Grand Prize: Canada’s Best Speed Skating Story

• Trip for three to the ING Video Awards Party in Calgary
• $5,000 donation from ING to the winner’s club
• $1,500 gift certificate for new speed skates
• Timex Triathlon digital heart rate monitor
• Premium Hbc gift certificates
• iPod Touch
• Canon digital camera

Second Prize: Runner-up

• Trip for three to the ING Video Awards Party in Calgary
• $2,500 donation from ING to the runner-up’s club
• Timex Triathlon digital heart rate monitor
• Premium Hbc gift certificates
• iPod Touch
• Canon digital camera

Additional prizes are awarded to the Top 16, 8 and 4 respectively.

ING SPEED SKATING CHALLENGE TIMELINE

• Challenge opened: November 14, 2007
• Challenge closed: February 3, 2008 (Video Entry Deadline)
• Voting began: February 11, 2008
• Voting closes: March 14, 2008 (12 Midnight MST)
• Canada’s Best Speed Skating Story is crowned: March 15, 2008