December is a critical time for Australia’s winter sports athletes, with qualification for Vancouver 2010 set to be finalized during the course of the month. The opening mogul skiing event of the season will take place in Ruka, Finland, on December 12, with Dale Begg-Smith making his comeback to World Cup competition.
Australia’s speed skating athletes have broken five national records in races in Calgary over the weekend. Daniel Greig established three new marks, skating to 36.43 seconds in the 500m, lowering that a day later to 36.36, and also producing a new time of one minute 10.96 seconds in the 1000m.
Craig Branch has skied to within one place of his career-best result, finishing 28th in the opening World Cup downhill of the season in Lake Louise, Canada.
Australia’s Vancouver 2010 aspirants tackled the second World Cup of the season over the weekend, with sprint athletes getting their first taste of World Cup action for the season at the Kuusamo event.
Hannah Campbell-Pegg has finished in 27th place in a Nation’s Cup luge event in Igls. The Torino Olympian raced down the Austrian track in a time of 40.892 seconds to finish 0.841 seconds behind the fastest sled of German Corinna Martini.
Craig Branch has skied to within one place of his career-best result, finishing 28th in the opening World Cup downhill of the season in Lake Louise, Canada. Branch was just two seconds flat behind race winner Didier Cuche of Switzerland, covering the 3km course in a time of one minute 52.32 seconds. The 32-year-old Perisher Blue skier
Five-time Olympic speedskating champion Claudia Pechstein lost her appeal against a two-year ban for blood doping on Wednesday and will miss the Vancouver Games.
Ben Sim has become the second Australian cross country skier to score World Cup points, and the first to do it in a distance event. Sim finished 30th in the opening World Cup 15km Freestyle in Beitostolen in Norway, just 1:07 behind the winner Ronny Hafsaas of Norway.
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Did you know?
Colin Coates (Speed Skating) has attended 6 Winter Games: 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988.
Did you know?
Germany’s Christa Luding-Rothenburger is the only athlete to ever win medals in both Winter and Summer Games in the same year. Among other medals, she won skating silver in the 500m (Calgary 1988) and cycling silver in the match sprint (Seoul 1988).