Well, I guess we Winnipeggers are pretty proud of our girls on ice these days. Cindy Klassen racked up 5 medals for skating at these Olympic games (6 career Olympic medals), putting her on a short elite list of decorated athletes. Not only that, but Clara Hughes managed to push past even Klassen to clinch the gold in the women’s 5,000M. Maybe there’s something in the water (Winnipeggers have been saying that for years) — or in the ice, as it were. The suspect ice would probably be an outdoor 1/4 mile speed skating oval in Winnipeg, named a while back after Susan Auch

These two seem to get it right off the ice, too. Klassen is vocal about her faith, while Hughes celebrated her victory by giving away $10,000 of her hard-earned non-bonus money. Good on them.

Both women came to speedskating from different sports — Klassen from hockey and Hughes from cycling… and after refocusing, they’re on top. But one thing is utterly striking, and it’s about how Clara Hughes races. As she did in Salt Lake at the last Olympic games, following this race, she basically collapsed (somewhat voluntarily) on the ice, breathing heavily, recovering. Most skaters don’t do this. This race is about endurance, and that’s Hughes’ specialty. She knows how to push to the limit and keep going, despite the pain. She knows how to finish the race with nothing left in reserve. Most skaters or distance runners finish a race and need to cool down, moving around slowly to catch their breath and regain their composure. Hughes seems to finish without even enough energy left for that. I think there’s something innate in us that wishes to hold back just a little for ourselves, to not push past the point of extreme pain.

I think about Paul’s metaphor of the running the race, and I wonder — how will I finish? Will I have lots left in reserve, or will I collapse on the other side of the line? Seems to me I’m going to have energy to spare on the far side of the finish line, and it means I’m probably holding back now. Need to think on this one some more…

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