No speed limit at Oval

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

With the World Allround Speed Skating Championships going this weekend at the Olympic Oval, speed is precisely the name of the game.

To that end, look for world records to fall as the best skaters on the planet wrap up the season on arguably the world's fastest ice.

At last month's Turin Olympics, sea-level altitude and slow ice didn't produce a single world mark. But the Oval, perched 1,048 metres above sea level with its pristine ice, will almost certainly produce superb results.

"One of the Dutch coaches predicted eight records would fall," said Gregg Planert, the Oval's technical director and competition co-ordinator.

"The speed skaters are relaxed after the Olympics. The pressure's off."

That's for sure the case with the Canadian team, which will be led by Cindy Klassen, who has a great shot at winning the women's title, especially with Germany's Anni Friesinger not skating. Klassen's teammate Kristina Groves said the Canucks are loose and ready to go fast.

"The chances of new records are very good," said Groves, who hails from Ottawa and earned two silver medals in Turin. "It's pretty rare to get this calibre of skaters racing here at this time of year. The ice is typically fast."

In addition, the skaters will have a sold-out crowd of about 4,000 people on hand cheering them every step of the way, giving them an extra lift.

"There's going to be more than one world record broken and it's going to be extremely exciting for the fans," said Regina's Justin Warsylewicz, who brought home a team pursuit silver medal from his first Olympics.

"The Olympics were a pretty stressful time and now, to come and skate here, it's just going to be a lot of fun and we're going to see some pretty good times from all the skaters."

Klassen holds the world record in the 1,500m, a mark she set this season at the Oval.


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