Advertisement

Pro athletes, reporters hit world’s fastest ice with Team Canada speedskaters

Pro athletes and reporters hit the world’s fastest ice at Olympic Oval
WATCH ABOVE: Ahead of this weekend's ISU World Cup in Calgary, Team Canada speedskaters put other pro athletes - and reporters - to the test, including Global's Cami Kepke.

Some sports may look pretty easy on TV, but in reality, that’s not always the case.

It takes a special person to rip across the ice, going more than 50 kilometres an hour while balancing on blades that are 1.1 millimetres thick.

It’s all in a day’s work for Team Canada speedskaters.

Members of Canada’s long-track team hit the ice with summer Olympians, members of the Calgary Stampeders, Calgary Flames alumni and local reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

READ MORE: Ottawa natives Blondin, Weidemann win gold, bronze in World Cup speedskating race

It turns out, the mindset of a pro athlete is universal.

“The moment the gun went off, I was in compete mode,” Stampeders defensive back Dagogo Maxwell said.

The skillset, however, that may not be so universal.

Story continues below advertisement

“Pretty wobbly, I’ll tell you that. The only goal is to not fall,” Maxwell said.

“It’s like wearing a running shoe — a low-cut running shoe,” said former Calgary Flame Brendan Morrison.

“We’re so used to wearing skates that go above your ankle, so you don’t feel very stable.”

The groups split into several teams for a timed relay race.

It went better for some than others.

“I thought [the group was] really impressive,” said Team Canada speedskater Isabelle Weidemann.

“You don’t see a lot of people who have done it for the first time that can do crossovers already, or pick up the start really quickly.”

Story continues below advertisement

The real talent will be on display Feb. 7-8 at the Olympic Oval, as more than 200 athletes from 27 countries vie for the podium at the International Speedskating Union World Cup.

Competitors say the venue makes the competition even tougher.

“It’s the fastest ice in the world,” Weidemann noted. “Because Calgary is at altitude, the ice is faster in here.

“The ice maintenance is so good, and it’s shown in the fact we have so many world records that are broken here every year.”

Tweet This

Five of the current men’s world records in speedskating have been set at the Olympic Oval, while the women’s side has recorded four world records in the building.

The weekend will also see new banners rising in the hall of champions.

On Saturday, a special ceremony will mark the official retirement of the legendary Denny Morrison, and honour Canada’s women’s pursuit team from the 2006 Turin Olympics.

READ MORE: After 2 brushes with death, Canadian speedskater Denny Morrison finishes 13th

The silver medal-winning group is made up of Kristina Groves, Clara Hughes, Cindy Klassen, Christine Nesbitt and Shannon Rempel.

While Wednesday’s test drive fell shy of competition speeds, Brendan Morrison left the Oval with a final thought.

Story continues below advertisement

“I think they’d bury us hockey players all day long,” he said.