Cindy Klassen, one of Canada's most decorated Olympic athletes, helped open a new exhibit in Winnipeg today dedicated to the Winter Olympics, in time for the upcoming Games in Sochi, Russia.
The six-medal-winning speedskater from Winnipeg is loaning one of her bronze medals and a skin suit to the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame's exhibit, which officially opened on Wednesday.
Klassen said it's an honour to be recognized, and she hopes the exhibit will inspire young Manitobans to take up sports.
"I'm just thinking about the future Olympians that are going to come through here and dream about one day being at the Olympics," she said.
Sports Hall of Fame chairman Don Pincock says the goal of the exhibit is to get people excited for the Sochi Olympics, "to inspire people and to make people more aware of what a rich heritage this province has, and that we should celebrate it."
The Olympics exhibit features memorabilia from homegrown athletes like Jonathan Toews and Jennifer Jones, who are competing in hockey and curling, respectively, in Sochi.
It also has items from past Olympians such as Clara Hughes, Sami Jo Small and Susan Auch.
"Susan Auch has always been a role model to me, and growing up she was a household name," Klassen said.
"When I moved to Calgary and I actually got to skate with her and train with her … she just taught me so much about the sport. She's someone I really look up to. And so to be here among those names is just a huge honour."
The Olympics exhibit is on display at the Sport for Life Centre at 145 Pacific Ave. until June 8.
The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame will host a number of parties during the Olympics where you wan watch the events on television, including the men's hockey round-robin games on Feb. 13, 14 and 15.