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  Mon, Feb 11, 2002



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Olympian recruited by the WWF

By CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

From the five-ring circus to the squared circle? From Jacques Rogge to Vince McMahon?

That could be the leap for Canadian skeleton athlete Michelle Kelly, the effervescent 25-year-old from Calgary, who obviously isn't afraid to dive headfirst into anything (skeleton is similar to luge, except they go face first down the icy run).

Kelly, who holds the world record on the track at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, is one of the favourites on a very strong Canadian team to wind up on the podium Feb. 20.

That's her focus now, obviously.

But there have been times -- and could be times -- when she's not so focused on turns, but turnbuckles.

The 5-foot-5, 141-lb., ex-gymnast and ex-bobsledder has been recruited by the World Wrestling Federation to become a wrestler and potentially a star of a women's circuit.

"I could be 'Skeleton Girl,' " she said with a laugh when asked what her WWF persona could be. "Once the Olympics are over, I'm going to leave my options open. (Wrestling) has been fun for me. It's a great release."

Kelly was recruited by a former bobsleigh teammate who worked out at the same gym. The husband of a friend of hers is a wrestler and passed the word the WWF was looking for women with athletic backgrounds.

They went to a tryout in the so-called "Dungeon" in the basement of the legendary Hart family, the first family of wrestling.

"At first I thought the idea was pretty cheesy," she said. "Wrestling? But I figured I would try it. I'm up for anything. It was kind of fun throwing some 200-pound guys around."

Kelly has been taken under the wing of Stu Hart, the patriarch of the clan.




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