2000 Canadian Sport Awards
ALSO ON SLAM!
Jeremy Wotherspoon - Speed Skating
Nominated by Canadian Amateur Speed Skating AssociationOne of the fleetest speed skaters in the world for the past several seasons, Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., continues to out-sprint his competition. The 1998 Olympic 500-metres silver medallist ended the 1998/1999 season with the World Sprint Championship gold medal around his neck. He also topped the World Cup standings with consistent gold, silver, and bronze medal performances.
In claiming victory last February, Wotherspoon took silver medals in two of four races to clinch his first career overall world title. Building on the commanding lead he established on the first day of competition, Wotherspoon amassed 138.310 points, setting a world record in the process and defeating Jan Bos of the Netherlands, the defending sprint champion, and Olympic 500-metres champion Hiroyasu Shimizu of Japan, the only skater in Nagano to better Canada's 2-3-4-5 finish.
"It was just a fantastic weekend," said the 23-year-old Wotherspoon, a fly fishing devotee who wants to travel around the world and go fly fishing when his racing days are over. "I achieved every goal I had set for myself."
Inspired by seeing the great Gaetan Boucher skate at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games and groomed by the rich environment of the Olympic Oval and the National Sport Centre Calgary, Wotherspoon possesses all the ingredients essential to sporting greatness - an intense commitment to training and improving, a body perfectly suited to his sport, and above all, a deep love for speed skating.
He is also remarkably easygoing, as Globe and Mail sports reporter Allan Maki has noted: "The guy is so relaxed he could make a hypnotist fall asleep. If he were any calmer, his blood pressure would read 60 over 40, the kind of numbers you expect to find in a fish."
The current season has been as exceptional as 1999. Late in January 2000, Wotherspoon, who holds a monopoly on the spotlight thanks to his victories and world records, finished on top in the World Cup standings, just ahead of Hiroyasu Shimizu. Rival Jan Bos calls the "Spoon's" dominance in the shorter distances "impressive. There's no question - he's the greatest sprinter in the sport today."
Confirming Bos' remark, less than a month ago, Wotherspoon out-raced all his rivals to win his second consecutive world sprint title.