University of Calgary

Canadian, international athletes gear up for 2013 Oval finale

UToday HomeMarch 5, 2013

Canadian and International athletes are gearing up for the last Canada Cup (Single Distance) competition of the season, the Olympic Oval Finale/Canada Cup #4, taking place March 6-11, 2013 at the Olympic Oval in Calgary.

This event finishes off the Oval’s 25th anniversary competition season and is the prelude to the 2013/14 pre-Olympic year.

Athletes from around the world are arriving at the Oval for this highlight event that sees top athletes from Norway, Finland, Japan, Mongolia, France, Netherlands, Poland, Australia, USA, and Canada compete for personal bests. Oval Finale is an annual event with a reputation for fast times, and skaters are eager to take a shot at country and world records.

Akira Kuriowa comes back to the Olympic Oval for this year’s finale as head coach of the Japanese team. Kuriowa, one of the first great Japanese sprinters, is notable in that he won an Olympic bronze medal in the 500-metre at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

The competition will also see the return of World Champion Dutch speed skater Wouter Olde Heuvel, whose personal best times in the 500, 1000, 1500 and 5000-metre distances have all been set at the Calgary Oval. Olde-Heuvel is also the 2010 and 2011 Dutch National All-Round champion.

For Canadian skaters, the Canada Cup #4 competition is important, as it is their last chance of the season to accumulate points to secure their place on the Canadian National Development Team.

Competition starts Wednesday, Mar. 6 at 9 a.m. with the men’s 3000-metre races. Friday sees the kick-off of the sprint portion of the competition. The event wraps up on Monday, Mar. 11 with the men’s and ladies 1500-metre distances and Mass Start races for both ladies and men.


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