Skater gets wired to hit track

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

Give the kid a clean bill of health.

Justin Warsylewicz, one of Canada's best long distance speed skaters, is healthy again after experiencing Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, an ailment that produces an irregular electrical current in the heart.

As Warsylewicz, 20, and the rest of Canada's all-round speed-skating team gears up for this weekend's Essent World Cup at the Olympic Oval, the Regina product is happy he's healthy again, which wasn't the case a year ago, when the condition was first diagnosed by his doctor during a regular checkup.

He had two surgeries in which a catheter was wired into his heart, then radio-frequency energy was used to stabilize the electrical pathway, a procedure Warsylewicz said was successful.

"I had to wait through a three-month window until they could say I was officially cured," said the 2004 world junior champion at a press conference yesterday to kick off the World Cup.

"So all the tests have come back positive and I've got a clean bill of health.

"I didn't miss a beat this summer and so far training has gone well."

Now he's excited about his first full season on the senior World Cup circuit, skating against the best in the world.

"There's definitely going to be a lot of new challenges this year. I'm no longer the young guy trying to catch the seniors," said Warsylewicz, who will compete in Sunday's 5,000-metre race.

RECORD BREAKERS: First Winnipeg's Cindy Klassen broke the 1,500 metre long-track speed-skating world record two weeks ago at the Olympic Oval.

But last weekend Germany's Anni Friesinger shattered Klassen's time of one minute 53.77 seconds with a world record of 1:53.22, setting up a big day Sunday when the two stars compete in the 1,500 at the Essent World Cup in Calgary.

Both have been dominant since 2002 but Klassen downplays the notion of a rivalry with Friesinger, an Olympic gold medallist and three-time world all round champion.

"I don't think it's a rivalry," said Klassen, last season's 1,500 and 3,000m world single distance champion.

"Both of us have done pretty well and she's an amazing skater who has done well in all the distances, so she's going to be one to look out for this weekend."


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