Canadian Single Distances Championships coming to Calgary

2013 Canadian Single Distances Championships coming to Calgary Jan. 3-6
Key competition with the Sochi 2014 Olympics in sight

– The 2013 Canadian Single Distances Championships (long track) will be held from Thursday, Jan. 3 to Sunday, Jan. 6 at the Olympic Oval in Calgary. With only 403 days before the Sochi 2014 Olympics, this Speed Skating Canada competition is a key component of 2012-13 season schedule for athletes and coaches to measure their progress heading toward the Games.

Canada's long track athletes have earned 33 Olympic medals (eight gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze), more than 20 per cent of the 145 total winter medals collected since the 1924 Games. The Canadian short track speed skating team has won the second most medals with seven gold, 10 silver and eight bronze for a total of 25. Figure skating is third with 22 (4, 8 and 10). (Source: Sports Reference)

The Canadian championships, which run concurrently with the second leg of the Canada Cup series, offers skaters the opportunity to be selected for the Essent ISU sprint World Cup in Calgary on Saturday, Jan. 19 and Sunday, Jan. 20, the ISU World Sprint Championships held on Jan. 26 and 27 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the three winter World Cups and final.

Athletes can also earn spots on the Canadian team competing at the Continental regional qualifier, featuring Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, in Salt Lake City on Jan. 12 and 13. This qualifier assists in selecting the Canadian team for the World All-Round Championships in Hamar, Norway, on Feb. 15 and 16.

Finally, the championships award points towards each skater eligible for their national ranking and the 2013-14 Canadian national speed skating team, which will be selected in April.

The Canadian Single Distances Championships begin on Thursday, Jan. 3 with the men's 1,500 metres and women's 3,000 metres. On Friday, the men compete in the 1,000- and 5,000-metre distances, and 1,500 metres for the women. The junior-aged men will skate the 3,000 metres on Saturday, while the men take the 10,000 metres. The women's races will feature the 1,000 and 5,000 metres. On the last day of competition, Sunday, the men and women will compete in two 500-metre races and mass start.

Admission is free for the championships, with races starting at 9 a.m. The championships feature more than 150 of Canada’s top male and female skaters.