Cindy Klassen qualifies for Vancouver Olympics in 3,000 metres

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CALGARY - Cindy Klassen has booked her ticket for the Vancouver Olympics.
The Winnipeg native finished second in the 3,000-metre final at the Canadian single distance championships and Olympic team trials on Monday with a time of four minutes 06.08 seconds.
"I was pretty nervous going into the race. I'm happy with the race. I didn't know a year and a half ago what was going to happen and I'm just grateful for the opportunity," said Klassen.
Klassen is making her return to competitive speedskating after taking last season off to recover from knee surgery and will try to qualify for three other events at the trials.
"It's pretty cool to be able to come back and be able to race at the Games again," she added.
Clara Hughes of Glenn Sutton, Que., won the race with a time of 4:05.04, to clinch a spot in her second event at the Games.
Heading into the competition, Hughes had already qualified for the Games in the 5,000 metres and said she's glad Klassen will be joining her in Vancouver.
"I'm really pumped for Cindy," said Hughes. "She's had a really tough go and I've had small injuries myself and I know how hard it is to come back from them.
"But she's come back from her knee surgeries and I think we're just starting to see what she's capable of and would never, ever count her out of anything."
Edmonton's Nicole Garrido finished in third at 4:08.06 but failed to qualify for the Games.
Ottawa's Kristina Groves will be the third member of the team at the 3,000-metre distance. She had already qualified prior to these championships.
Meanwhile on the men's side, Lucas Makowsky left it late but claimed a spot in Vancouver after winning the men's 5,000-metre title.
Makowsky's time of 6:24.58 was just ahead of Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C. Morrison set the standard at 6:25.40 in an earlier pairing and Makowsky was behind on every lap until the finish.
But the Regina native turned in a strong final lap to take the Canadian title as both skaters picked up personal bests in their respective heats.
"The race was tough today, I'm not going to lie," said Makowsky, still breathing heavily after his victory. "It's all progress for me right now. Of course the goal will be to perform at the Games.
"As long as I keep improving as I am this fall, that's all I can ask for going into the Games."
Montreal's Mathieu Giroux finished in third at 6:25.74 and just missed clinching one of the two Canadian births in the men's 5000 metres.
Canada will send a total of 10 female and eight male skaters in February. The trials to determine the team concludes Saturday.


Organizations: Games

Geographic location: CALGARY, Winnipeg, Vancouver Edmonton Ottawa Fort St. John Regina Montreal Canada

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