samedi 1 août 2009

Skaters set to battle for Olympic spots

Photo -Clement Allard/The Canadian Press

Andy Blatchford-TSN
MONTREAL - There will be no reggae music echoing from the arena rafters and this will be no team picnic at the beach.
"Olympic trials is one of those special moments in your life where it's skate or die," veteran skater Amanda Overland said Friday after a workout in Montreal. "It's just going to get aggressive and it is what it is - you've just got to fight for your spot. I think in a good way we need that."
But she predicts the toughest part will be racing against teammates, especially those in this year's group.
The tightly knit bunch spend a lot of off-ice time together at gatherings like barbecues and beach picnics.
"This competition coming up right now is hell," said the Kitchener, Ont. native, who hopes to bounce back after hip surgery in September forced her to miss the 2008-'09 season.
Olivier Jean, a top contender to make the men's side, said the guys remain a close unit despite the added pressure.

The men even created a playlist of each other's favourite songs, which they play during light practice sessions at their home facility - Montreal's Maurice Richard Arena.
"We've never had team spirit as high as we do right now," said the dreadlocked Jean, who listens to reggae as part of his pre-workout routine.

He did, however, note that his teammates regularly give each other a hard time over their musical preferences. His frequent target is Hamelin's younger brother, Francois, who added a few pop tunes to the mix. "It's not really my style," Jean said with a grin.
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