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    Saturday, February 21, 1998

    Wotherspoon's sister act

    By AL RUCKABER -- Calgary Sun
      RED DEER -- Sometimes it can be a pain being the kid sister of a sports celebrity.
     Just ask 15-year-old Megan Wotherspoon of Red Deer, whose big brother Jeremy is a Canadian speed skating sensation.
     Last week, big brother really stole the spotlight by winning the silver medal in the 500-metre at the Nagano Olympics.
     But big brothers can sometimes cast a mighty big shadow. So, sometimes Megan simply wishes to be asked about her speed skating exploits when people talk to her. Like about yesterday's short track race in the Advanced 2 category for 14-to-15 year-old girls at the Alberta Winter Games.
     "I'm pretty much known just as Jeremy's little sister and sometimes I wish they'd just recognize me," she said, with a shy smile after pocketing the gold in the combined competition, which featured both 500 and 1000 metre races.
     "Naturally it's pretty hard to try to follow in his footsteps but I just go at my own pace and try to improve."
     While it can be tough getting lost in the shuffle, Megan says it's still a cool experience.
     "To me, he's just my brother but it's pretty neat having a brother who won an Olympic medal," said Megan, who competes in both short track and long track.
     Megan says she and her older sister, Danielle, 17, have never been jealous of Jeremy's exploits.
     "We already knew way back when he made it to the Junior Worlds that he was something special," Megan said. "But our parents (Sharon and Bill) always made sure never to leave the rest of us out. They always made us feel equal in every way.
     "Of course, just like every normal brother and sister, the older brother beats you up. But even then, I respected him a lot, because he was always so dedicated to speed skating. Now, of course, I'm very proud to call him my brother."
     Megan did not get to make the trip with her parents to see Jeremy perform in Nagano.
     "I had to make a serious choice about going or not," she said. "I had three major competitions to go to during the Olympics -- the Nationals in Winnipeg last weekend, the North Americans in Butte two weekends ago and then the Alberta Games. I felt I could do pretty well in all of them and so, decided not to go to Nagano."
     Instead, she watched on television as Jeremy won silver.
     "My grandparents stayed at our house and together we stayed up until 2 a.m. to watch it," she said. "We were so tired, it didn't hit us until the next day what Jer had done."
     Megan would love to follow in Jeremy's footsteps.
     "I'd really like to make it to the Olympics some day," the Grade 10 student at Red Deer's Notre Dame high school says. "That's my dream."
     And Meagan has already seen big brother's dream come true.