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  • canada sked medal results SLAM!  NAGANO

    Tuesday, February 10, 1998

    Canadians win silver, bronze in 500-metre

    By JIM O'LEARY -- SLAM! Sports
     NAGANO -- Hours after Wayne Gretzky and Co. arrived by train to take Nagano by storm, Canada's speed skating team proclaimed that the NHL millionaires aren't the only story in town.
     In fact, for a day, at least, they aren't even the biggest Canadian story in Nagano. That honor belongs this morning to Canada's speedskaters.
     In one of the most memorable days in Canadian speed skating history, Canada took four of the top five places in the men's 500-metre Olympic event early Tuesday morning, including the silver and bronze medals.
     Leading the charge was Canada's 21-year-old skating phenom Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta. He rocketed from the pack, rebounding from seventh place in the first heat, to win a silver medal in his Olympic debut.
     Right behind him was Kevin Overland of Kitchener. Despite slipping from second place on Day 1, he happily settled for the bronze.
     "This is a great feeling," Wotherspoon said. "After I was seventh (after Day 1) I told myself I had nothing to lose so I just went for it.
     "I knew from previous races this season that I have the ability to win by a large margin. I've done it in the past so I had to believe in myself that I could do it again."
     Among the skaters Wotherspoon catapulted past were Quebecers Sylvain Bouchard of Loretteville and Patrick Bouchard of Cap-Rouge. They placed fourth and fifth respectively.
     The only skater standing between Canada and a complete medal sweep was Japan's Hiroyasu Shimizu. He became an overnight Japanese hero by setting an Olympic record on Day 1 and breaking it on Day 2 to easily take the gold. Shimizu's total time was 71.35 seconds, leaving him very comfortably ahead of Wotherspoon's 71.84.
     As he toed the starting line, Wotherspoon suspected he'd have to break the world 500-metre record of 35.39 seconds to win the gold. As it turned out, he'd have needed a time of 35-flat. He clocked 35.80.
     "The only way I was going to win was if Shimizu had a bad race," Wotherspoon said. "I knew that going in. But I didn't want to beat someone because they raced bad. I'm glad he raced well and I raced well enough to get the silver."
     Wotherspoon moved up from seventh place by lopping a quarter second off his first-day time of 36.04.
     "I was too nervous in the first race," Wotherspoon said. "I was hyper. The whole world watches the Olympics."
     After an impressive time of 35.78 in the first heat, Overland had a slight wobble in the first turn in Heat 2 and clocked 36.08 for a total of 71.86.
     "Coming into this event I just wanted to make it to the podium," said Overland. "I'm not picky -- gold, silver or bronze is just fine.
     "Overall, my first race was better. The slip today hurt me but I'm proud of the way I recovered to have a reasonable time."
     Wotherspoon and Overland join snowboarder Ross Rebaglioti as Canadian medal winners in Nagano. Canada's Olympic team is right on target to reach its record target of 15-20 medals.
     The 500-metres isn't even considered Canada's strongest event. They're most formidable at 1000 metres, which goes on Sunday. The 1,500-metre event is up next, on Thursday, and the Canucks have a legitimate shot there as well.
     For the first time in the Olympics, the 500-metre sprint was a two-race event, with the combined times from two races being used to determine the medallists. After Monday's race, Canada held four of the top seven positions.
     "I've said all along that I like the two-race format," Wotherspoon said. "I think it's more fair."

     Speedskating Results
     NAGANO, Japan (AP) -- Final results Tuesday from the men's 500 meter speedskating medal event at the Winter Olympics:

     1, Hiroyasu Shimizu, Japan, (35.76, 35.59), 1 minute, 11.35 seconds.
     2, Jeremy Wotherspoon, Canada, (36.04, 35.80), 1:11.84.
     3, Kevin Overland, Canada, (35.78, 36.08), 1:11.86.
     4, Sylvain Bouchard, Canada, (35.90, 36.10), 1:12.00.
     5, Patrick Bouchard, Canada, (35.96, 36.09), 1:12.05.
     6, Casey FitzRandolph, Madison, Wis., (35.81, 36.39), 1:12.20.
     7, Kim Yoon-man, South Korea, (36.13, 36.23), 1:12.36.
     8, Lee Kyu-Hyuk, South Korea, (36.14, 36.41), 1:12.55.
     9, Ermanno Ioriatti, Italy, (36.30, 36.36), 1:12.66.
     10, Roger Strom, Norway, (36.53, 36.15), 1:12.68.
     11, Michael Kuenzel, Germany, (36.56, 36.19), 1:12.75.
     12, Jan Bos, Netherlands, (36.66, 36.11), 1:12.77.
     13, Manabu Horii, Japan, (36.37, 36.41), 1:12.78.
     14, Sergei Klevchenya, Russia, (36.56, 36.30), 1:12.86.
     15, Hiroaki Yamakage, Japan, (36.61, 36.30), 1:12.91.
     16, Jaegal Sung-yeol, South Korea, (36.58, 36.39), 1:12.97.
     17, Toshiyuki Kuroiwa, Japan, (36.37, 36.60), 1:12.97.
     18, Janne Hanninen, Finland, (36.58, 36.46), 1:13.04.
     19, Christian Breuer, Germany, (36.78, 36.41), 1:13.19.
     20, Alexander Golubev, Russia, (36.67, 36.54), 1:13.21.
     21, Jakko Leeuwangh, Netherlands, (36.69, 36.54), 1:13.23.
     22, Pawel Abratkiewicz, Poland, (36.76, 36.51), 1:13.27.
     23, Marc Pelchat, Chelmsford, Mass., (36.94, 36.41), 1:13.35.
     24, Vadim Shakshakbayev, Kazakstan, (36.87, 36.57), 1:13.44.
     25, David Cruikshank, Northbrook, Ill., (36.67, 36.86), 1:13.53.
     26, Tomasz Swist, Poland, (36.86, 36.68), 1:13.54.
     27, Li Yu, China, (36.79, 36.79), 1:13.58.
     28, Liu Hongbo, China, (36.77, 36.95), 1:13.72.
     29, Roland Brunner, Austria, (36.90, 36.86), 1:13.76.
     30, Davide Carta, Italy, (37.11, 36.80), 1:13.91.
     31, Dai Dengwen, China, (37.03, 36.95), 1:13.98.
     32, Vladimir Klepinin, Kazakstan, (37.22, 36.92), 1:14.14.
     33, Alexander Kibalko, Russia, (37.32, 36.86), 1:14.18.
     34, Kim Jin-soo, South Korea, (37.19, 37.13), 1:14.32.
     35, Oleg Kostromitin, Ukraine, (37.27, 37.19), 1:14.46.
     36, Cory Carpenter, Brookfield, Wis., (37.35, 37.76), 1:15.11.
     37, Zsolt Balo, Hungary, (38.48, 38.08), 1:16.56.
     38, Ids Postma, Netherlands, (1:18.68, 37.81), 1:56.49.
     39, Erben Wennemars, Netherlands, (35.96, DNF).
     40, Grunde Njos, Norway, (36.32, DNF).
     41, Sergei Savelyev, Russia, DQ.