The speed skating competitions begin today in Sochi, Russia. Canadian athletes such as Charles and François Hamelin are out to prove they are the fastest in the world. But how does Canada’s wildlife stack up against these speedy challengers?
Bronze Medal – Pacific Salmon
The Pacific Salmon may by small but its features make it very speedy. Pacific Salmon can reach speeds up to 35 kilometres per hour which is useful when escaping the claws of a Grizzly Bear, their greatest predator. Their pectoral fins allow them to abruptly turn left, right, up, and down while their dorsal fin stabilizes them in rushing waters.
Silver Medal- Pronghorn Antelope
This speedy land animal can reach speeds of 100 kilometres per hour; second only to the Cheetah. The Pronghorn Antelope is so speedy in fact, that has white racing stripes along its neck! Unlike speed skaters who compete for sport, Pronghorns need their speed to outrun predators like Bobcats and Coyotes.
Gold Medal- Peregrine Falcon
As the fastest animal in the world, the Peregrine Falcon can reach up to 300 kilometres per hour while diving for prey. Its streamline body, compact feathers, and long pointed wings make this predator capable of great speeds. Speed skaters have learned from these birds and now wear spandex suits to mimic the falcon’s compact and streamline body.