Monday, February 9, 1998
A family affair for Wotherspoon
For example, there's nothing Megan Wotherspoon would like more than to be in Japan today, cheering on her brother in his quest for gold. But there is one problem.
The 15-year-old Red Deer speed skater couldn't go since she had a meet of her own this weekend -- a step along the path to achieve her own dream of someday getting to an Olympics.
So when Canadian speed skating sensation Jeremy goes for the podium tonight, Megan will be like the rest of Canada -- sitting in front of a television and cheering as loud as possible.
"I feel bad because I'd like to be there with my brother, but I really wanted to skate," she said Thursday before boarding a bus to Butte, Mont., for the North American Long Track Speed Skating Championships.
It's something Megan realizes is necessary in order for a person to get to the world level. In this case, she gets to stay home while her mom Sharon, dad Bill and sister Danielle, 17, are in Nagano to watch Jeremy.
Megan, who is coming off a broken bone in her foot, says she understands what it takes to be an elite athlete because she's seen first hand the sacrifices her brother has made. It's something that has inspired her.
"The first thing I'd like to do is make the national team," she said with a shy smile. "Making it to the Olympics is a longer-term goal."
Actually, while Jeremy was shooting for making it to the Olympics, she and her sister, wondered if it was really possible.
"At first, we thought Jeremy was thinking too big," she said. "But he ended up making the dream come true which shows you anything is possible if you really try."
And although there is a tonne of pressure on Jeremy tonight, Megan said, she figures he can handle it. "Whatever happens, happens. But if he wins, I will be excited for him."
Before she headed over to Japan, Jeremy's mother Sharon said the only thing they are looking for is for him "to do his best." If that means winning the gold, that's great. But if it doesn't, that will be OK too, she said, adding the thing she and her husband are most proud of is closeness between their three children.
"They are a support to each other," she said. "It's a really neat bonding."
No matter Jeremy's result, and even with him being on the cover of this week's MacLeans magazine, Megan said she doubts her brother will change.
"He's just like a big kid who gets excited about everything," she said.
And the one thing that won't ever change is his, and his sisters' love and respect for their parents, who have been behind all of their dreams to become the best possible speed skaters they could be.
Athletes do sacrifice, but Megan said when you really look at it, it's actually the parents who give the most.
So, even though she wishes she could be there tonight, she's glad her parents will get to experience the moment.
"They put up a lot of time and money for us so that we could compete," said Megan.