Donna Spencer, The Toronto Star, June 24, 2011

CALGARY—A “bed-in for sustainability” by speedskater Kristina Groves has drawn the attention of Yoko Ono, the originator of the protest-in-a-bed concept with late husband and Beatles member, John Lennon.

Groves received an email from Ono prior to Friday’s bed-in at a downtown Calgary bed boutique. Groves, a winner of four Olympic medals, entertained civic leaders and politicians in a bed and discussed ways to make the city more environmentally sustainable.

Ono and Lennon held two-week bed-ins in 1969 in both Amsterdam and Montreal to promote peace. They invited the world’s press to join them. Groves was stunned to receive a message from Ono.

“Kristina, congratulations for your courage and wisdom, I love you, exclamation point,” Groves said incredulously while reading from her cell phone. “I wasn’t even born when they did that. To get that was really cool.”

As traffic buzzed by on the street in front of the boutique’s front window, Groves talked with a bike-store owner while an economic development coordinator popped in for a pillow talk.

An Alberta MLA, a Calgary city councillor and a university professor in environmental design were among those Groves invited into her bed Friday.

“We’re going to compile them into a report or some kind of collection of work that we’re going to submit to the City of Calgary and to city council,” Groves said. “What we’re accomplishing today is having this conversation. It’s not like tomorrow we’re going to have 10 action items that are going to be put into place.

“It’s about getting a group of amazing people to this event and sharing their ideas. I’ve never done this before, so we’ll see what the outcome will be.”

The 34-year-old from Ottawa has long championed environmental causes when she’s away from the speedskating oval.

Groves is a member of Clean Air Championships and David Suzuki’s Play It Cool program, both of which involve athletes preaching and practising a green way of life. She was part of a group of speedskaters that came up with a green plan for Speed Skating Canada’s operations.

Groves has trained in Calgary at the Olympic Oval for 16 years. Groves won Olympic silver medals in the 1,500 metres and team pursuit in 2006 and another silver in the 1,500 and bronze in the 3,000 in 2010. She’s won 18 world championship medals in the sport.

AuthorKristina Groves