Speed Skaters Cindy Klassen & Anastasia Bucsis to take a year off

Ottawa, May 20, 2014 – Olympic medalist in Long Track Speed Skating Cindy Klassen as well as 2010 and 2014 Olympian Anastasia Bucsis announced today their decision to take the 2014-2015 season off.

"The beginning of a new Olympic quadrennial brings many athlete decisions regarding both their sporting and personal lives”, said Speed Skating Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Moss. “Cindy and Anastasia have chosen to take a year off this year as part of that process and Speed Skating Canada anticipates that they will remain committed to good physical conditioning if they choose to return to the program next year. Our national team training program begins in earnest this month and we look forward to a strong post-Olympic season from all of the athletes recognized as the national team for 2014-2015."

Cindy Klassen
“I decided to take this season off to rest and focus on my studies at the University of Calgary” said Cindy Klassen, 33, from Winnipeg, Manitoba. “Next year, I will reevaluate and decide whether I’d like to continue with skating.”
“I think taking a step away from skating and focusing on something completely different will help me to determine whether I am ready to hang up the blades for good and pursue something new or get back into skating once again.  This time off will also give my body a chance to recover from so many years of hard training and hopefully heal some of the minor lingering injuries.”
Cindy Klassen won six medals in three Olympic Games. She is the only Canadian athlete to have won five medals in one Olympic Games doing so in 2006, including a gold medal in the 1,500m, silver in the 1,000m and at the women's team pursuit event with Kristina Groves, Clara Hughes, Christine Nesbitt and Shannon Rempel, and bronze medals in the 5,000m and 3,000m events. Her achievement was recognized by International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge who called her the “woman of the Games”. She was given the honour of being the Canadian flag bearer at the closing ceremony. She also got a bronze medal in the 3,000m event at the 2002 Olympic Games and took part in the 1,500m, 3,000m and 5,000m at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes are tied for Canada's all-time most decorated Olympian.
Cindy Klassen has owned the world record in the 1,500m since 2005 and in the 3,000m since 2006. She won the Lou Marsh Trophy in 2006 as the Canada’s athlete of the year in a vote by national media, the female Athlete of the Year Award in 2007 at the Canadian Sports Awards, and the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as female athlete of the year in 2005 and 2006 by The Canadian Press.

Anastasia Bucsis
“I absolutely love my sport and believe that I am far from reaching my potential,” said Bucsis, a 25-year-old Calgary, Alberta, native.

“I am taking time off simply to recharge and refocus- mentally, physically, and emotionally towards our buildup for the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea. I am forever grateful for all the support I have received from Speed Skate Canada, my provincial and federal governments, sponsors, and Canadians abroad. I have been blessed far more than I deserve and I hope to represent you all to the best of my ability in the future.”

Bucsis has participated in two Winter Olympics, in 2010 in Vancouver and 2014 in Sochi, Russia. She finished 34th in the 500m in Vancouver and 28th in the 500m in Sochi.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 13,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance and Samsung, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC

Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC