Blade runner sizzles

Trevor Rassmussen (left) prepares for blast off with Finn Plummer

Unofficially, Trevor Rasmussen now holds the record for fastest lap around Priest Valley Arena.

The 28-year-old roadrunner takes long, flawless strides he has perfected since his parents put him in speed skating instead of hockey, at age two, in Chilliwack.

A new resident of Vernon, Rasmussen graduated from high school in Prince George and immediately left for the Calgary Olympic Oval to train full-time in speed skating. His younger brother, Cory, is on Team Canada, but at No. 8, won’t be competing in the Vancouver Games.

Trevor, however, who hopes to land a forestry job here, heads to the Olympics on Sunday to serve as a technical volunteer at the Richmond oval.

“I’ll be chasing blocks, all those pucks on the ice,” said likeable Rasmussen. “The skaters hit ‘em and somebody’s gotta race out and put ‘em back before they come back next lap. We squeegee the ice and change tracks and add water and mend the ice.”

Rasmussen, whose older brother Daryl made Canada’s development team, has been showing up at regular Vernon club workouts Tuesday and Thursday nights.

“Just thought I’d get my skating legs back for a month here. I’ve been retired a couple of years so it feels good to get back out there, at least get my ankles to fit these boots a little better because I’m gonna be needed there.”

Rasmussen, who calls speed skating one of the more underrated Olympic sports, likes the look of Team Canada.

“We’re looking really good, short track and long track. Denny Morrison from Fort St. John, he’s raring to go. I skated with Denny growing up. I used to beat him and now he’s way up there.”

Rasmussen would love to stay and coach at the Vernon club which has 19 skaters. Club director Pete Kapak has been highly impressed with Trevor’s presence.

“Basically, we’ve never had a skater of this calibre in Vernon before and we seem to have a young group, and by the time they get his age, they drop out so this is the real first skater that can electrify the place quite easily,” said Kapak.

“At our mini meet here Saturday, this place was rockin’. I have neither seen that much excitement or adrenaline. If he could stick around, it would be an incredible boost to the club, whether he coaches or not, even being a participator. Just as an example to the kids to show his smoothness and his techniques would be a terrific benefit to us.”

New members are welcome to try speed skating free of charge. Call 545-3048.