Klassen, Tremblay, Marshall & Hughes Finalists for Canadian Sport Awards

Speed Skating Canada is proud to announce the selection of three National team athletes and a National Team coach as finalists for the 34th Canadian Sport Awards. Cindy Klassen and François-Louis Tremblay have been nominated in the Athlete of the Year categories, Clara Hughes is a finalist for the Spirit of Sport Story of the Year Award and Neal Marshall has been nominated in the Coach of the Year category.

These nominations follow a very successful year for Speed Skating Canada. In 2006 Canadian speed skaters captured half of Canada’s 24 Olympic medals in Turin, achieved 23 podium results at World Championships and an additional 4 at World Junior Championships.

Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) was a dominant speed skater last year carving her place in history by winning five Olympic medals in Turin. She now owns a total of six Olympic medals making her the most decorated Canadian Olympian of all time. Her outstanding performances weren’t restricted to the Olympic Games as Klassen went on to skate to Gold medals in every distance at the 2006 World All Round Championship in Calgary, setting three new world records on her way to the overall crown.

François-Louis Tremblay (Montreal, QC) was impressive throughout the season on the Short Track World Cup Circuit but more importantly at the Olympic Games and at the 2006 World Championships. François-Louis had a career evening on the last night in Turin, winning an individual silver medal in the 500m and helping the men’s relay team to a silver medal in the 5000m relay. His season of success continued at the World Championships where he stepped onto the podium four times (gold in the 500m and 5000m relay, silver in the 3000m and bronze overall).

As a national team coach Neal Marshall (Calgary, AB) played a key role in the long track speed skating successes in 2006. He coached Cindy Klassen to five Olympic medals and was also the lead coach in charge of the women’s team pursuit that won silver in the inaugural event at the Olympic Games.

Beyond performance, the Spirit of Sport Story of the Year Award has been created to celebrate a Canadian hero who, in the pursuit of sporting excellence, has demonstrated strong values and the attributes of dedication, perseverance, sportsmanship, respect for others and a true love of sport.

As the only athlete to have won multiple medals at both the summer and winter Olympic Games, two bronze in cycling in Atlanta, a bronze in speed skating in Salt Lake City, and a gold and silver in Turin, Clara Hughes (Winnipeg, MB) contributes greatly of herself to those less fortunate and to the development of sport for all. After her gold medal success in Turin, Clara pledged $10,000 to Right to Play challenging Canadians to follow her lead and participated in a tour of several African nations on behalf of the organization. To date, over $425,000 has been donated to Right to Play following Clara Hughes’ lead.

The 34th Canadian Sport Awards ceremony will be held in Winnipeg on Friday, March 23, 2007 and will kick off a community-oriented celebration of sporting excellence.