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Canadians to watch in January

Canadians to watch in January
Ben Stevenson

By Ben Stevenson

Canadian Single Distances Speed Skating Championships:  Jan. 3-6 – Calgary

Canada’s long track speed skaters will be the first athletes to aim for national supremacy in 2013 when they square off against each other at the Canadian Single Distances Championships held from Thursday, Jan. 3 to Sunday, Jan. 6 at the Olympic Oval in Calgary. Several big name athletes and Olympic medallists will be vying for the title of Canada’s best including Mathieu Giroux, Christine Nesbitt and Cindy Klassen. Expect 27-year-old and two -time world champion Brittany Schussler to make an impact as well.

The event will be a great lead up to the World Long Track Sprint Championships taking place later in the month.  The national championships also award points toward  athlete rankings for 2013-14 national team, which will be selected in April.

Admission is free for the championships, with races starting at 9 a.m. and will feature more than 150 of Canada’s top male and female skaters.

Athletes to watch: Mathieu Giroux, Christine Nesbitt (@CNezzy), Cindy Klassen (@cindy_klassen), Brittany Schussler (@bschussler)

Canadian Figure Skating Championships – Jan. 13-20 – Mississauga

Canada’s best will square off at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, ON from Jan. 13-20 at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships for national supremacy and for an opportunity to be named as a member of the Canadian team that will compete at the World Figure Skating Championship in London, ON this March.

Five-time men’s champion Patrick Chan will be aiming for a sixth consecutive victory, while 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will be looking to capture their fifth title in six years. The women’s title is up for grabs as nobody has been able to hold it longer than a year since Joannie Rochette dominated the division from 2005-10. Look for 2011 champion Amélie Lacoste to be challenged by 17-year-old newcomer Kaetlyn Osmond. The pairs competition will be highly contested as the teams of Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, and Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers all battle for the title.

Tickets can be purchased at skatecanada.ca.

Athletes to watch: Patrick Chan (@pchiddy) , Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Amélie Lacoste (@melipetit), Kaetlyn Osmond (@kaetlyn_23), Meagan Duhamel (@mhjd_85) and Eric Radford (@Rad85E), Kirsten Moore-Towers (@Kirsten_MT) and Dylan Moscovitch (@DylanMoscovitch), and Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers.

Snowboard World Championships – January 18-27 – Stoneham

Canadians will be looking to replicate their 2010 Winter Olympic Games success at the Snowboard World Championships in Stoneham, QC. 2010 gold medallist Jasey-Jay Anderson (parallel giant slalom) and Maelle Ricker (snowboard cross) will both be looking to claim gold for the Maple Leaf.  2006 bronze medallist Dominique Maltais will be up to challenge Ricker and the rest of the field in snowboard cross and 2011 slope style world champion Spender O’Brien will be looking to defend her title on home soil.

The 10th edition of the FIS Snowboard World Championships will be held at Stoneham Mountain Resort from Jan. 18 to 27. The event, which features more than 400 athletes from 35 nations competing in six disciplines, will pit Canadian athletes from the National Team against their international rivals in big air, halfpipe, parallel giant slalom, snowboard cross and the two newest additions to the Olympic program: Snowboard slopestyle and parallel slalom.

Athletes to watch: Jesse-Jay Anderson, Maelle Ricker (@Maelle_Ricker), Dominique Maltais, Spencer O’Brien (@spencerobrien)

Bobsleigh Skeleton World Championships – Jan. 21-Feb.  3 – St. Moritz-Celerina, Switzerland

Canada will have strong representation at the Bobsleigh Skeleton World Championship Jan. 21-Feb. 3 and will be led by the undefeated team of 2010 Olympic gold medallist Kaillie Humphries and her rookie brakeman Chelsea Valois who are riding a five competition win streak as a duo. Humphries, who has not lost a race in close to a full year, will be looking to hold on to the 2012 world title she won with partner Jennifer Ciochetti. 2010 bronze medallist Lyndon Rush will be leading the way for the men and will be looking for the podium once more this year. Last year’s World Championship silver medallist will likely be paired up with 2012 world’s partner Jesse Lumsden or 2010 Olympic bronze medallist Lescelles Brown.

In Skeleton, look for Canada to be well represented on the Women’s side with two sliders currently ranked in the top-5 in the world. Sarah Reid (No. 2) and 2006 bronze medallist Melissa Hollingsworth (No. 5) will be looking for a podium finish.

Athletes to watch: Kaillie Humphries (@BobsledKaillie), Chelsea Valois (@chelseavalois), Lyndon Rush (@goldrush781),  Jesse Lumsden (@JesseLumsden28), Lescelles Brown, Sarah Reid and Mellisa Hollingsworth (@Mehollingsworth).

 World Long Track Sprint Championships – Jan. 26-27 – Salt Lake City, USA

2010 Olympic champion and three-time reigning 1,000m world champion Christine Nesbitt will be heading into the World Sprint Championship as the heavy favourite to claim another title during her storied career. She will be joined at the competition by the likes of six-time Olympic medallist Cindy Klassen, 2010 Olympic gold medallist Mathieu Giroux and multi-time time world champion medallist Brittany Schussler. Among those absent will be 2010 gold medallist Denny Morrison who is recovering from a broken leg.

The world sprint championships are held annually to determine the best overall sprint speed skater of the world and Canadians will be front and centre during the competitions this year in Salt Lake City January 26th-27th. Taking place over two days, the skaters will race the 500 and 1,000-metres events each day. The champion is later determined by combining the lowest total cumulative points based upon racing times over the distances raced by each skater.

Athletes to watch: Mathieu Giroux, Christine Nesbitt (@CNezzy), Cindy Klassen (@cindy_klassen), Brittany Schussler (@bschussler)

Photo: CP Images

Ben Stevenson

By Ben Stevenson

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