February 26, 2006
Speed skating medal haul amazes
TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

All across the city yesterday, the buzz about Winnipeg's remarkable speed skaters erupted into a thunderous roar.

On the day Cindy Klassen won her record fifth medal of the Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy and fellow Winnipegger Clara Hughes claimed a gold medal in the women's 5,000-metre race, pride was etched on the faces of the local faithful.

"Isn't it awesome that so many medals have come out of Winnipeg?" said Marian McGurran-Scott, who was working a booth at the Snocross races at CanWest Global Park. "It just shows that we are a hearty bunch here."

'AMAZING'

Klassen won bronze in the 5,000 to cap the greatest single Olympics by a Canadian athlete. She was in the gold medal position until the final pairing of Hughes and Germany's Claudia Pechstein bettered her time to claim gold and silver.

"It has truly been an amazing Olympics for Canada and for Winnipeg," said Marvin Wallace, who was walking at The Forks yesterday.

"Even though (Klassen) was expected to do well, nobody could have expected five medals. When you consider what has happened to Canadians in the past, like (Perdita) Felicien, that makes this that much more special."

Between Klassen, Hughes, fellow speed skater Shannon Rempel (silver in team pursuit) and hockey player Jennifer Botterill (gold) Winnipeg women are bringing home nine medals.

"I'm so proud of what (Klassen) has done and really the whole speed skating team and the whole Canadian Olympic team," said Winnipeg Goldeyes general manager Andrew Collier.

While Hughes stole the thunder yesterday with her gutsy gold-medal performance, it's Klassen who has earned a place in the memory banks of all Manitobans.

"What Cindy Klassen has done is totally awesome," said McGurran-Scott.







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