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Beijing Olympics help boost winter sport numbers in Sudbury – CBC.ca

In the last three weeks the Sudbury Sprinters speed skating club has seen its biggest surge of interest in the sport in at least the past three years, said the club’s president.

Club president Natalie Lefort said a dozen people with no prior speed skating experience have contacted the Sudbury Sprinters in the last three weeks. She has attributed Canada’s success at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games to that growing enthusiasm for the sport.

“I haven’t seen this much interest in the past few years, although we’ve had the pandemic the past few years too,” Lefort said.

Nine of Canada’s 26 medals at the Beijing Games were in speed skating events. Those included a gold medal for the women’s team pursuit and a gold in short track speed skating for the men’s 5,000-metre relay. 

Lefort said the Sudbury club focuses on short-track speed skating and trains at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in the city’s south end. 

Due to COVID-19 measures that closed indoor sports facilities, she said a lot of their season was put on hold. But now that sports facilities can welcome athletes again, the season will be extended into April.

Alyssa McVittie, a health and wellness co-ordinator with Curl Sudbury, said her sport has seen a similar increase in popularity since the Olympics started.

She said the curling club has a bonspiel for new curlers on Saturday that has attracted 14 people with no prior years of experience.

Of Canada’s three Olympic curling teams in Beijing, only the Brad Gushue rink reached the podium, with a bronze medal.

But McVittie said that regardless of results, the Olympics are an opportunity for Canada’s best curlers to compete on the world stage and reach a new audience.

“Anyone going to the Olympics, whether they place for gold or not, are still the best in the country,” she said. 

“So for us to be able to use that and still have a representation at the Olympics is great for turnout and for new interest and young interest to keep the sport going.” 

Olivier Leveille, seen above, was the best of three Canadians in the men’s 15km classic cross-country ski race on Friday (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Outdoor sport advantage

Cross-country skiing has also seen a recent jump in interest in Greater Sudbury.

But Mary Waddell, president of the Walden Cross Country ski club, said growing participation in the sport has been due more to the COVID-19 pandemic than the Olympics.

Waddell said the club had 750 members in early 2019, and has more than 1,000 today. When indoor sports facilities were closed due to the pandemic, it was still possible for people to get out on ski trails, she said.

Waddell said the skiing experience has remained unchanged during the pandemic, but the social aspect has been impacted, because the ski chalet has been closed at certain times.

“People have been skiing out of their cars,” she said. 

“It’s nice to go to the chalet, put your boots on and, you know, have a little visit or lunch or something and then go skiing.”

Waddell said Olympic cross-country skiing is not a popular sport in Canada and doesn’t get the viewership numbers of figure skating or hockey. 

But she said all of Greater Sudbury’s ski clubs have welcomed more members due to …….

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/winter-sports-sudbury-olympics-1.6360624

In the last three weeks the Sudbury Sprinters speed skating club has seen its biggest surge of interest in the sport in at least the past three years, said the club’s president.

Club president Natalie Lefort said a dozen people with no prior speed skating experience have contacted the Sudbury Sprinters in the last three weeks. She has attributed Canada’s success at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games to that growing enthusiasm for the sport.

“I haven’t seen this much interest in the past few years, although we’ve had the pandemic the past few years too,” Lefort said.

Nine of Canada’s 26 medals at the Beijing Games were in speed skating events. Those included a gold medal …….

In the last three weeks the Sudbury Sprinters speed skating club has seen its biggest surge of interest in the sport in at least the past three years, said the club’s president.

Club president Natalie Lefort said a dozen people with no prior speed skating experience have contacted the Sudbury Sprinters in the last three weeks. She has attributed Canada’s success at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games to that growing enthusiasm for the sport.

“I haven’t seen this much interest in the past few years, although we’ve had the pandemic the past few years too,” Lefort said.

Nine of Canada’s 26 medals at the Beijing Games were in speed skating events. Those included a gold medal …….

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