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Estonian skier to compete in Alberta

We are hoping to see people waving Estonian and Canadian nags-at the side of Canmore's ski trails on December 15 and 17!

The 2005-2006 World Cup cross-country ski season has two stops in Canada - Vernon, BC on December 10-11 (in Silver Star Park at the Sovereign Lakes area www.sovereignlake2005. .ca) and Canmore, Alberta on December 15-18 (adjacent to Banff Park, about 100 km west of Calgary, the same place where the cross-country events took place during the 1988 Winter Olympics). There will be no Estonians competing at Vernon, but the country will be represented by Jana Rehemaa at Canmore.

The Estonian Ski Federation explains "The reason no additional Estonian skiers are participating in the Canadian World Cup events is that we are dealing with extraordinarily long travel times and severe jet lag due to time-zone differences. Competition Conditions in Nonh America are excellent, the athletes regret missing out on those opportunities, but this season we are focusing mainly on the all important Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, and we do not wish our athletes to undertake too many risks.

Many European athletes who Participateed at a variety of competitions in Utah prior to the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, became ill afterwards, resulting in a premature end to their competitive year. Because the Olympics are of major importance and in case- of unfortunate results, it would be a matter of four years to make amends, then this season, Europe-based Estonian competitors are not participating in North American World Cup events."

26-year-old Jana Rehemaa has spent the last 3+ years at Boulder, Colorado, USA where she is working on a_ degree in international affairs. Jana adds "I am here on an athletic scholarship and this is my final year. In order to win the scholarship, I merely had to ski better than the Others." Jana continues "I became seriously interested in skiing at age 12 and have skied in a few World Cup events as a Junior. Among my best results was a 10th place at a Junior World Cup competition. I have been Estonian women's champion 'a couple of times. I prefer freestyle skiing, but can't really explain why. I am planning to compete only at Canmore where I will- give it my all and if I do well, hope to gain a place on the team going to Torino. Additional information about me is available on the University of Colorado website www.cubuffs.com"

Jana's coach in Estonia is∑ Anatoli Smigun, her uncle, who also coaches his well known daughters (Jana's cousins) Kristina and Katrin Smigun. At international events, Mali Alaver is usually the head coach of the Estonian ski team. At Colorado, Jana's coaches include accomplished former World Cup competitors.

At Canmore. Jana will compete Thursday December 15 in the women's 10 km freestyle race and Saturday December 17 in the women's 15 km classic style race. Exact start times are to be announced later by the event organizers, information will be available online at www .canmore2005.com. Results for Estonian athletes will be available via the International Ski Federation (FIS) at www. fis-ski.com. Choose the discipline of interest (cross-country, nordic combined, ski jumping), and/or proceed to the competitor biographies.

But, the better option is to come in person to Canmore with your flags!


Eesti Elu

Alberta's Estonian Heritage
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††††††††††† For more on Estonian Alberta, visit Peelís Prairie Provinces.

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