Skaters in fine form for Finale finish

The $19,000 purse at the 15th annual Olympic Finale is now in the hands of the top skaters in the world.

A $10,000 cheque was presented to American speed skater Chad Hedrick, who set a new world record in the men’s 3,000-metre distance, taking more than three seconds off the old record. The prize money was posted for world records broken in distances designated by the International Skating Union (ISU).

Clara Hughes, who skated a world’s best in 10,000 metres, was on hand to receive a Brothers of the Wind ring, a traditional gift for world record breakers from the Olympic Oval ice technicians who work everyday to make the fastest ice in the world. Hughes also received the Canon Top Canadian Athlete Award.

The Canon Top International Athlete award was present to Dutch Junior Champion Ireen Wuust, who broke World Junior records in the Ladies’ 1000, 1500 and 3,000-metre distances and the World Junior Record for overall points in a competition. Wuust also received $3,000 in prize money with her ring.

The third ring was presented to Netherlands’ Wouter Oldeheuvel who set a new World Junior record in the men’s 3,000 metres. Oldeheuvel also broke the World Junior Record for overall points. The junior skater takes home $1,000 in prize money.

More than 35 country records were set and 550 personal best times were posted. Canadian National team members picked up four new country records. In addition to Hughes, Steven Elm of Red Deer broke his men’s 3,000-metre Canadian record. Juniors Denny Morrison, of Fort St. John, BC, broke his own record in the 1500-metre event and Regina’s Justin Warsylewicz broke his record in the 5,000-metre event.

Winners on the final day of Finale competition include: Ladies 500-metre sprint winner Krisy Myers (AB), and Japan’s Tomoko Kawada and Aya Kajiki; Ladies 1000-metre sprint winners Myers, Danielle Wotherspoon (AB) and Nancy Swider-Peltz (USA); Men’s 500-metre sprint winners Japan’s Kuniomi Haneishi and Korea’s Suk-Kang Lee and Soon-Chun Kwon; men’s 1000-metre sprint winners Francois-Olivier Roberge (QC), Sterling Sobczak (MB) and Vincent Labrie (QC); and Warsylewicz who won the men’s marathon.

Quebec’s Muncef Ouardi placed first in the overall standings for the men’s sprint. Kajiki placed top in the Ladies competition.

Competition results can be found on-line at www.oval.ucalgary.ca.


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Yvonne Turgeon

Olympic Oval Communications

(403) 210-8568