Star Cana­dian speed­skater Cindy Klassen re­tires aged 35

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Cana­dian speed­skater Cindy Klassen re­tired Satur­day af­ter a ca­reer in which she won six Olympic medals.

The 35- year- old skater had dou­ble knee surgery in 2008 but raced un­til 2013. Klassen hasn’t com­peted the last two years fol­low­ing a con­cus­sion while in­line skat­ing in 2013.

“It was nice to take a break and a step away from the hard train­ing,” she said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence. “I have to ad­mit that when I watch speed­skat­ing, I get that itch to go out there and race. But other than that, I don’t miss it as much as I would have when I was younger. This speaks vol­umes to me, and I know that it’s time to move on to some­thing new.”

Klassen is the only Cana­dian to win five medals at one Olympics — a gold, two sil­ver and two bronze in 2006 in Turin, Italy. Jac­ques Rogge, then the IOC pres­i­dent, dubbed her the “woman of the games.”

Another bronze from 2002 tied her with for­mer team­mate Clara Hughes for the most Olympic medals by a Cana­dian. Klassen still holds world records in the 1,500 and 3,000 me­ters, which she set dur­ing the 2005-06 sea­son.

Klassen

called

the Olympics from 2006 and Van­cou­ver Games in 2010 in her home coun­try the high­lights of her ca­reer.

“It has been a tremen­dous honor to race for our coun­try,” she said. “I count it as a priv­i­lege to have had the chance to wear a uni­form with Canada printed on the back.”

Cana­dian speed­skater Su­san Auch, an Olympian who re­tired in 2002, said Klassen’s rep­u­ta­tion for kind­ness is well de- served.

“Of all the ques­tions I al­ways get from peo­ple, ‘ Is she re­ally that nice?’” Auch said. “And she is.”

Klassen now plans to fin­ish her univer­sity de­gree and fo­cus on the next stage of her life.

“It’s been a year (since I raced) and my legs have just shrunk,” she said with a laugh. “I just feel ready to move on and put speed­skat­ing be­hind me.”

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