January 28, 2006
Kraus skates quieter Games
CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

It's been a relatively quiet season for Alanna Kraus but, leading up to the Olympics, the silence is no big deal.

The Winter Games are where athletes want to make noise and the short track speed skater from Abbotsford, B.C., would like nothing more than to hear O Canada in Turin, Italy, as she stands on the podium.

As part of the Canadian women's 3,000m relay team, Kraus should be able to pick up a medal but it'll be interesting to watch her in the 500m, an event where she's picked it up a notch. This season she shattered the previous Canadian record (44.184 seconds), setting a new mark of 43.83, beating her personal best by .5 seconds in the process and she's thrilled with the accomplishment.

"Just to break that 44 number is huge and I did it in a semifinal, then didn't make the final but it was so awesome to break that number," said Kraus, who trains at the Olympic Oval in Calgary.

Not many short trackers have gone under 44 seconds. Just four have done it, including Bulgaria's Evgenia Radanova, who set the world record of 43.671 in 2001 at the Oval.

If Kraus can set a personal best in Turin, there's a good chance she'll pick up a medal it the 500, especially if she does it in the final.

Short track is an inherently crazy sport where high-speed crashes occur with regularity and skaters are disqualified for interference. Kraus can't control the outside influences, so she won't even try.

"I don't pay much attention to the refs and I'm sure something's going to happen along the way, I just hope it's not in my race," she said with a laugh.

Something weird always happens in short track, such as the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City where Australian Steven Bradbury won gold after a last-lap pileup worked to his advantage. Something that might work in Kraus' favour is the fact all the short track events are at night.

"I'm a night owl, so it's perfect for me," she said.

With one Olympics under her belt, Kraus will be a veteran heading into Turin, which starts Feb. 10. She'll have a lighter workload than she did in Salt Lake, where she competed in all four events and helped the relay team claim bronze.

"I won't be in as many distances. This time I'm just going to absorb the scene a little more," said Kraus.







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