SLAM!Sports
January 26, 2006
Klassen unflappable
Ignores Cherry's comments about flag-bearers
By PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

Don Cherry says he'll be watching Canada's Olympic speed skaters closely, but the feeling certainly isn't mutual.

Winnipeg's Cindy Klassen says she hasn't paid attention to Cherry's rants about potential Canadian flag-bearers at the Winter Games in Turin, Italy, next month.

"I haven't really been listening," Klassen told the Sun yesterday, her first public comments since Cherry's salvo on Hockey Night in Canada last weekend. "I've heard bits and pieces from people around the Oval. I believe in what I'm doing."

What Klassen will probably do is take a pass on the opening ceremonies, Feb. 10, allowing her body to rest up for the first of five events she'll compete in.

Cherry labelled her and others who declined to let their names stand as potential flag-bearers "a disgrace."

The controversial broadcaster went on to say he'd be watching those athletes closely to see how they perform early in the Games.

"I just know what I'm doing," Klassen said. "It's going to be two days before I race, and normally ... that's a rest day. I try not to stand on my feet too much, even in warm weather. Being out in the cold, that's the worst thing you want to do ... you're wasting energy trying to stay warm.

"For me, it's really a no-brainer. There's no way that I'd be able to do that."

While Klassen took the high road, former Olympian Catriona Le May Doan has been willing to take Cherry on.

Yesterday, the two-time gold medallist said she was looking forward to Cherry eating his words on Feb. 12.

"I personally can't wait to see the Canadian women dominate in the 3,000, two days after the ceremonies, and talk about what a good decision they made in not doing the ceremonies," Le May Doan said.

Le May Doan says another of Winnipeg's top medal hopes, speed skater Clara Hughes, thanked her for speaking out.

"You know what? If I can be the athletes' voice, if I can inform uninformed people, great," Le May Doan said.

Canada's flag-bearer will be revealed today, while the speed skaters leave for Europe on Sunday.

A multi-medal threat, Klassen can't wait.

"Today I was talking to my coach about how it's just 2 1/2 weeks from the Olympics," Klassen said. "And I'm so excited to go. But I'm also a little sad that it's going to be over so soon. Because this year has been so much fun."


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