OLYMPIC PREVIEW: Speed skating

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The fastest human-powered sport in the world will offer plenty of excitement for the fans in Vancouver. In the “short-track” events – where skaters race against each other on a track about the size of a hockey rink – South Korea will attempt to repeat their dominating performance in Turin, where they won six out of eight possible gold medals. Montrealer and 1000m world record holder Charles Hamelin will try to hold them off in the men’s 500m, 1,000m, and 1,500m. 2007 Dancing with the Stars champ Apolo Ohno needs one more medal to become the most decorated athlete in short-track history.

In long-track speed skating – where the athletes post individual times on a 400m oval – 23-year-old Dutchman Sven Kramer will try to continue his reign over the 5,000m and 10,000m. Watch out for American Shani Davis in the shorter events, who is the world-record holder at the 1,000m and 1,500m. Saskatchewan sprinter Jeremy Wotherspoon will try to crown his brilliant career with the gold medal he has sought since Nagano. Calgary’s Cindy Klassen, who won five medals in Turin, is one of several Canadian women who will try to overcome stiff competition from Germany’s Jenny Wolf and the Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova.

Athletes to watch: Tyson Heung – he skates for Germany. Heung received his B.Ed. from McGill in 2005.

Predictions:

Men’s short-track 1,000m:

Gold: Lee Ho-Suk, KOR Silver: Charles Hamelin, CANBronze: Apolo Ohno, USA

Women’s long-track 500m:

Gold: Jenny Wolf, GERSilver: Wang Beixing, CHNBronze: Lee-Sang Hwa, KOR