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    Friday, January 9, 1998

    Speed Skating Canada announces Olympic long track team

     OTTAWA--World record holders Catriona Le May Doan of Saskatoon and Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., headline a powerful 17-member Olympic long track speed skating team announced Thursday by Speed Skating Canada.
      Team selections were based on the eight-day Olympic trials which concluded Wednesday and reviewed Wednesday night by the selection committee.
      Le May Doan, the current world record holder in the 500 and 1,500, will also race the 1,000 at the Olympic Games. Olympic silver medallist Susan Auch of Winnipeg and Linda Johnson Blair of Fort St. John, B.C., qualified in the 500 and 1,000 while the other sprinters are Michelle Morton of Calgary in the 500 and Sylvie Cantin of Loretteville, Que., in the 1,000.
      In the longer distances, Cindy Overland of Kitchener, Ont., and Ingrid Liepa of Ottawa qualified in the 1,500 and 3,000 while Isabelle Doucet of Ste-Foy goes in the 1,500 and Susan Massitti of Vermilion, Alta., in the 3,000. This will the first Games for Massitti, Overland, Cantin and Doucet.
      "Pressure is something that mainly comes from yourself," said Le May Doan, 27, when asked on how she'll deal with being a gold medal contender in Nagano. She currently leads the 500 and 1,000 World Cup standings with five wins in eight races. "This season has been a great preparation for the Games both physically and mentally. I feel I'm ready for the Olympics."
      For the men, the 21-year-old Wotherspoon and Kevin Overland of Kitchener,Ont., are the busiest skaters having qualified in three events, the 500, 1,000 and 1,500. Sylvain Bouchard of Loretteville, Que., and Patrick Bouchard of Cap-Rouge, Que., (not related) each qualified in the 500 and 1,000.
      Wotherspoon is the top-ranked skater on the men's team. He is the current world record holder in the 1,000 and has four World Cup wins this season. In the distance events, Steven Elm of Calgary qualified in the 1,500 and 5,000, Kevin Marshall of Coquitlam, B.C., in the 1,500, Mark Knoll of Regina in the 5,000 and Neal Marshall of Coquitlam in the 5,000. Only the two Bouchards and Neal Marshall were at the 1994 Games.
      Neal Marshall, ranked number-two in the world the past two seasons in the 1,500, received a bye to the team. Marshall, 28, has been suffering from asthma and a lung infection which hampered his performances during the trials which concluded on Wednesday. He was listed to race the 5,000 and as a substitute in the 1,500.
      Mike Ireland of Winnipeg, who missed most of the trials due to a groin injury and Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., were named substitutes to the team but won't travel to Nagano unless there is an injury.
      The sprinters compete next Tuesday and Wednesday at World Cup in Italy then at the world sprint championships January 24-25 in Berlin. Named to the world sprint team were Le May Doan, Auch and Johnson Blair for the women; Wotherspoon, the two Bouchards and Overland for the men.
      Canadian long track speed skating team for the 1998 Winter Olympic Games announced Thursday by Speed Skating Canada (all distances in metres):
      MEN (8) 500: Jeremy Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta.; Sylvain Bouchard, Loretteville, Que.; Patrick Bouchard, Cap-Rouge, Que.; Kevin Overland, Kitchener, Ont.
      1,000: Wotherspoon; Sylvain Bouchard; Patrick Bouchard; Overland.
      1,500: Wotherspoon; Overland; Kevin Marshall, Coquitlam, B.C.; Steve Elm, Calgary.
      5,000: Elm; Mark Knoll, Regina; Neal Marshall, Coquitlam.
      WOMEN (9)
      500: Catriona Le May Doan, Saskatoon; Susan Auch, Winnipeg; Linda Johnson Blair, Fort St. John, B.C.; Michelle Morton, Calgary.
      1,000; Le May Doan; Auch; Johnson Blair; Sylvie Cantin, Ste-Foy, Que.
      1,500; Le May Doan; Ingrid Liepa, Ottawa; Cindy Overland, Kitchener; Isabelle Doucet, Ste-Foy.
      3,000; Liepa; Overland; Susan Massitti, Vermilion, Alta.