New-Look Canadian Team Readies for Home-Town Support at Essent ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships

– Calgary Families and Fans Encouraged to Come Celebrate One-Year Olympic Anniversary with Speed Skating Heroes –

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the new-look Canadian Team for the Essent ISU World Allround Speed Skating, February 12 and 13, is looking forward to competing for a home crowd on home-ice at the Calgary Olympic Oval.

“I'm just excited to race in Canada and that my friends and parents are able to come out to watch,” said six-time Olympic medalist Cindy Klassen about her personal expectations for this weekend. “Nothing beats racing in your home country!”

After being called the 2006 Olympics ‘Woman of the Games’ by IOC President Jacques Rogge, Klassen returned to the Calgary Olympic Oval, her home track, to win the 2006 World Allround Championship title in front of a sold-out crowd of family, friends and fans.

Today she is part of the seven-member 2011 Canadian Team, which includes a solid mix of established veterans and emerging stars from the 2010 Olympics, who will compete this weekend for the men’s and women’s individual titles of World Allround Champion. All Canadian Team members train at the Calgary Olympic Oval.

• Justin Warsylewicz, 2006 Olympic Silver Medalist
• Mathieu Giroux, 2010 Olympic Champion
• Lucas Makowsky, 2010 Olympic Champion
• Brittany Schussler, 2006 and 2010 Olympian
• Ivanie Blondin, first World Allround Championship
• Cindy Klassen, six-time Olympic Medalist, 2003 and 2006 World Allround Champion
• Christine Nesbitt, 2010 Olympic Champion and 2011 World Sprint Champion

Calgary families and fans are encouraged to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the 2010 Olympic Games and come cheer Canada’s speed skating heroes at the Essent ISU World Allround Championships, February 12 and 13 at the Calgary Olympic Oval.

“It’s great to see all of Canada’s speed skaters back home again in Calgary. This city has a special bond with the team and have shown them incredible support over the years,” said Organizing Committee Chair Alice Humeny. “With the one-year anniversary of the 2010 Vancouver Games this weekend, we have a lot to celebrate with these athletes who have done so much for Canada.”

This will be the only international competition on home-ice for Canada’s long track speed skaters this season and organizers are encouraging fans to come early in expectation of strong attendance.

Spectators should come early to purchase their tickets at the Olympic Oval on each day of these championships. Tickets will be on sale as of 11 a.m. Two types of tickets are available with the Premium tickets offering the best seats at the event.

Essent ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships
The Essent ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championship is one of the oldest and most prestigious events in international speed skating.

Men skate in four distances over the weekend including the 500m, 5000m on Saturday and the 1500m and 10000m on Sunday. Women skate the 500m and 3000m on Saturday and the 1500m and 5000m on Sunday.

Canada’s most recent World Allround Champion is Cindy Klassen, who is the only Canadian to win the title twice, in 2003 and 2006. During the 2006 Essent ISU World Allround Championships at the Calgary Olympic Oval, Klassen was the first and only Canadian to win every race and set a world record in the 3,000 metres. Her time of three minutes and 53.34 seconds still stands.

Events are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. on February 12 and 13. Additionall information on the World Allround Championships schedule is available on the official event website: www.speedsk8.ca.