Klassen breaks world record

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:11 PM ET

Superwoman is alive and well in Calgary.

Cindy Klassen has done it again. She set a world record in the 1,000 metres at the Olympic Oval Finale yesterday.

And considering the Winnipeg speed skater is at the end of her longest, most successful, most demanding season ever, she amazingly shattered Chris Witty's old mark of one minute 13.83 seconds by nearly 0.4 of a second, finishing in 1:13.46.

Witty's time had stood since the 2002 Olympics but Klassen, who skated by herself after teammate Kerry Simpson decided not to race, easily beat it and earned $25,000 as a sponsor's reward.

"I'm really happy about it," said Klassen, who won the world allround championship last week at the Oval, setting a 3,000m world record and world allround points record (154.580) in the process. "The whole race felt pretty good and my goal was to start hard. I was on the outer corner and sometimes it's harder to get going because it's a wider corner but I had a good opener ... and had enough energy on the last lap to finish pretty strong."

In typical Klassen style, she crossed the finish line, checked the clock then put her head down and smiled.

Klassen, a five-medal winner at the Turin Olympics, shows no signs of slowing down as she'll race again today in both the 500 and 1,000 -- her final races of the season. Yesterday she won the 500, as well, in 38.18.

And she's doing all this as one of the most scrutinized Canadian athletes in history. These days, it seems everywhere Klassen goes, an endless parade of people recognize her and want her autograph.

Canada's TV news magazine, W-5, is at the Oval this week filming a documentary on the 26-year-old that should air in six weeks, so she also has a camera following her around.

Klassen now holds three world records with the 1,500 under her belt as well and fans shouldn't be surprised if she sets a new mark in the 1,000 today.

Her coach, Neal Marshall, is as amazed as everybody else when it comes to Klassen's spectacular season. She certainly hasn't reached her full potential and nobody really knows how good Klassen can still be.

"I don't know. I don't think anyone does. She doesn't know but she can get better and she's getting better all the time," said Marshall. "There's room for more work, more refinement. The technique, there's room for that, so who knows? There's room to go faster but by how much, we'll have to wait and see."

Also yesterday, Red Deer's Jeremy Wotherspoon announced he is taking a year off.

"I want to take a break and do something different," said Wotherspoon, 29, in a statement. "I want to spend time travelling, taking some courses and fishing.

"As a speed skater, my schedule is so planned at the start of every year and I am looking forward to being able to do things that interest me when they come up. I do plan to come back. When I do, I will be more motivated to train and excited to get back and skate. I will have the right frame of mind."


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