Canadian Speed Skaters go to Mexico

Overview provided by James Monson, National team athlete.

Canadian speed skaters, Cindy Klassen, Danielle Wotherspoon and myself, are going down to Mexico on a missions trip with our church. We will be building a new house for a needy family in the Tijuana area. All three of us go to the same church, and with a busy skating season find it hard to give back to god as much as we like. This will be a great opportunity for us to do that.

The missions trip we be 10 days long. We will be driving down in vans. We will be camping down there and will build one house. This is a good time for us to do this as we do not have any training to do until end of April. If any one has any questions or would like more info about our trip, please feel free to email me anytime.

Thanks, James Monson

Speed skaters give back to others

Will help build home for needy family

Article by GREG Di CRESCE -- Winnipeg Sun

Cindy Klassen spent most of this year's speed skating season working hard on repairing the mental, emotional and physical architecture of her sporting life.

When Manitoba's female athlete of the year for both 2002 and 2003 had a nasty training accident last fall, all she could really do was focus on her health. With a 10 to 15-centimetre cut in her right forearm that had severed every tendon, damaged nerves, and opened a major artery, the Olympic bronze medallist understandably had to direct all her energy to rehab if she wanted to return to the ice.

Now, having pulled off that monumental feat surprisingly well, the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate grad is heading to Mexico next month to undertake another architectural project -- build a house for a needy family.


"As a speed skater, all your time is spent focused on yourself," said Klassen, who's making the trek to Baja California -- a Mexican state just south of San Diego, Calif. -- with fellow long trackers Winnipeg's James Monson and Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., sister of reigning World Cup 500-metre champ Jeremy.

"It's important to give back, that's the way I see it anyway," said Klassen, who still can't make a proper fist with her right hand and might never fully heal from her skate blade wound. "Look, I don't know if I'll be able to hold a hammer or a saw, but I sure hope so. I'm going to do as much as I can."


If that's the case, based on what she accomplished this skating season, it wouldn't be a shock to learn that an entire subdivision had sprung up during her stay.

Injured in late October, Klassen, 24, didn't really expect to return to the World Cup circuit this season. When she did, last year's overall world speed skating champion didn't expect to be competitive.

"It was the final month of the season and I was out of shape," Klassen explained. "For me, just skating seemed to be a bonus. Being such a crazy and strange season, I went to Europe and Korea more with the mindset of enjoying and appreciating than winning."

But, as if she couldn't help herself, she picked up a 1,000m silver and 1,500m bronze at the World Cup event in Heerenveen, Netherlands, and went on to take 1,000m bronze and 1,500m silver at the World Single Distances Championships in Seoul, Korea.

Klassen will be part of a group of 19 volunteers from a non-denominational church in Calgary who will be leaving for Mexico on Friday. They'll be working through Amor Ministries as they build the home. No power tools or generators will be used during the 10-day construction project.