Final preparations for Canadian athletes at speed skating worlds


Competition Starts Thursday at World Single Distance Championships in Inzell, Germany


The Canadian long-track speed skating team have been in Inzell Germany for 10 days, and were today making the final preparations for the World Single Distance Long-Track Speed Skating Championships, Thursday March 3 through Sunday March 6.

The past 6 weeks have been busy for the Canadian Team as they have been competing in various competitions throughout Europe. The small Bavarian village of Inzell, home of German speed skating icon Annie Friesinger, is a speed skating Mecca of sorts. With a population of 4500 and outdoor oval with a permanent seating capacity of 2500, it has been an ideal location for the athletes to prepare for this World Championship event. “There are very few times when you get somewhere and training feels like you are at home,” explains Jeremy Wotherspoon, 500m World Cup Champion from Red Deer, Alberta. “We have been here long enough that we are relaxed – we have had the chance to settle-in and build back up for the competition.”

There has been much success with the long-track speed skaters this season. Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg, MB) won her first 2 World Cup medals this year. Despite the schedule of the past several weeks she is pleased with the time she has had in Inzell. “I feel a bit recovered from Heerenveen (last competition in Holland). I have more energy, and have more feeling … more timing on the ice.” Rempel adds, “I’m kind of happy I’m not racing the first day though – (the extra time) let’s me get back into race mode.” Shannon Rempel, along with Krisy Myers (Lloydminster, SK) and Kim Weger (Regina, SK) will race the 500m on Saturday.

Although the athletes and coaches have been busy over the past days ensuring that the team is physically and mentally prepared for this World Championship competition, the required preparations today did include some play along with work. Following a team dinner, which included Catriona LeMay Doan and Bart Doan whom arrived in Inzell today, the Canadians joined the other countries represented at this championship as guests of honour as Inzell hosted a parade and Opening Ceremonies in the village square.

The first of races of the 2005 World Single Distance Championships will be held on Thursday March 4, and will see Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB), Kirstina Groves (Ottawa, ON) and Christine Nesbitt (London, ON) competing in the 1500m, whereas Arne Dankers (Calgary, AB) will be the sole Canadian male in the 5000m.

Follow the progress of our Canadian athletes at www.speedskating.ca.