Olympic Dreams Rest With These 16 Speed Skaters

Final 2010 Team Nominated to COC

This is one dangerous group of speed skaters. Dangerous, that is, should you be trying to vie for medals at the Olympic Winter Games.

Speed Skating Canada nominated its long track team yesterday, and it is a strong one with 16 athletes in all. For esteemed veterans, look no further than Jeremy Wotherspoon, Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes. For possibly monumental breakthroughs, look at Christine Nesbitt, Kristina Groves and Denny Morrison. These six skaters lead the crew, but do not represent all the stories that could unfold in the magnificent Richmond Oval – which will hopefully be painted red by athletes and fans alike.

There are several items of interest that may whet the anticipatory appetite before the Games arrive. Christine Nesbitt, for instance, has not lost a 1,000-metre race this season. Kristina Groves has qualified for five events. Cindy Klassen is back for more after an amazing five Olympic medals in 2006, which earned her the moniker “woman of the Games.” Canada has a shot at two gold medals in team pursuit. Jeremy Wotherspoon seeks that elusive gold medal in his fourth Olympic appearance, which he has said will be his last. Morrison, a 2006 silver medallist in pursuit, aims to write his own Olympic story as arguably Canada’s best men’s skater.

In truth, medal possibilities run up and down the team. And, as it’s been stated before, Canada’s overarching goal of a record medal count next month relies to a significant degree on the pursuits of these skaters, listed below with their hometown and Olympic events.

2010 women’s speed skaters

Anastasia Bucsis (Calgary) – 500 metres
Clara Hughes (Glenn Sutton, Que.) – 3,000, 5,000 metres
Kristina Groves (Ottawa) – 1,000, 1,500, 3,000, 5,000 metres, Team Pursuit
Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg) – 1,500, 3,000, 5,000 metres
Christine Nesbitt (London, Ont.) – 500, 1,000 metres, 1500m, Team Pursuit
Tamara Oudenaarden (St. Albert, Alta.) – 500 metres
Shannon Rempel (Winnipeg) – 500, 1,000 metres
Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg) – 1,000, 1,500 metres, Team Pursuit

2010 men’s speed skaters

Mathieu Giroux (Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que.) – 1,500 metres, Team Pursuit
Jamie Gregg (Edmonton) – 500 metres
Mike Ireland (Winnipeg) – 500 metres
Lucas Makowsky (Regina) – 1,500, 5,000 metres, Team Pursuit
Denny Morrison (Fort St. John, B.C.) – 1,000 metres, 1,500, 5,000 metres, Team Pursuit
Kyle Parrott (Minnedosa, Man.) – 500m, 1,000, 1,500 metres
François-Olivier Roberge (St-Nicolas, Que.) – 1,000 metres
Jeremy Wotherspoon (Red Deer, Alta.) – 500, 1,000 metres