That's a Wrap! - Athlete journal by James Monson

Journal entry courtesy James Monson, member of the national speed skating team.


I hope everyone is doing well. It's hard to believe but the season is over. It seemed to go by very quickly. On Monday the Canadian long track team returned from Seoul, Korea safe and sound. We just finished the World Single Distances Championships. It's the last Major Long Track competition of the year. This event decides the World Champion for each individual distance. Canada had one of their best year by winning a total of six medals.

We arrived in Seoul about a week before the competition began. Most of our workouts were on ice with a couple of bike workouts in there. It was a 45 minute bus ride to the oval. Stop and go traffic the whole way. The skating oval was covered and there was no concern for weather. In saying that, it was still pretty cold inside the oval.

Most of the week we were eating at restaurants around Seoul. One interesting thing was that there were quite a lot of American restaurants. Like TGIFridays, Outback Steakhouse and Pizza Hut. The amazing thing was the food was almost identical to that found in Canada. The taste, look, presentation, etc. The power of franchising at work! I was looking for a Kelsey's, but I didn't see one there.

We did go out for dinner one night at the Samsung building. We ate at the Top Cloud restaurant on the 33rd floor. It was quite an experience. Great food and a great view overlooking the city. Sophia Lee a Korean skater who trained in Calgary on the oval program took us there and bought the whole team dinner. It was very generous of her.

As far as the racing goes. I didn't skate that great. I finished 18th in the 500m and 19th in the 1000m. I won't go into much detail. Some other Canadian skaters did great. Jeremy won gold in the 500m and silver in the 1000m. Clara won gold in the 5000m. Mike ended up with a bronze medal in the 500m. Finally Cindy earned a silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 1000m.

That's about it for the skating this year. Most of the team now has about 6 weeks off to recover and relax. We will probably start training again at the beginning of May. I am looking forward to a good chance to sit back and relax.

I will be hanging out in Calgary until end of March. Then I'm going on a Missions trip with my church to Mexico. We're gong to build some houses down there. It should be an interesting experience. It anyone wishes to make a donation towards my trip, please email me and let me know. After that, I will go to Winnipeg and Visit my Family and friends. Probably about two weeks there. Then it's back to Calgary and start training again.

Take care,

James Monson