Saturday, February 14, 1998
Canucks could go crazy in 1,000
Maybe now, with the first race behind him, the pressure off, the 21-year-old speed skater from Red Deer will get a real opportunity to strut his stuff in the 1,000-metre event at the Winter Games.
"I think Jeremy needed that first race to relax him,'' Canadian coach Derrick Auch said. "I think now maybe you'll see the real Jeremy Wotherspoon.''
And there may be a bevy of Canadians right behind him.
The dominance of the national speed skating team has been apparent here. The Canadians won two medals in the 500-metre men's race, with two others finishing fourth and fifth. The women were set up to win two more medals in today's final of the women's 500 metres.
And with Wotherspoon holding the world record at 1,000 metres in a time of 1:10.16, the question becomes which, if any, of the other Canadians will medal?
In the 500, Kevin Overland of Kitchener was a surprise bronze medallist. In the 1,000, he has been the fastest historically, but Sylvain Bouchard of Loretteville, Que., has impressed in practice.
"Sylvain is looking good. KO (Overland) always does well in the 1,000. You expect it from Jeremy and I never count out Patrick (Bouchard),'' Auch said.
The strength of the Canadian team proves the legacy of the Calgary Olympics. Ever since 1988, Canada has become a dominant skating nation.
"They're very fortunate to have a place like Calgary to train in and practice on,'' American Casey FitzRandolph said. "I truly believe that gives the Canadian an advantage against everybody else.''