Thursday, November 20, 1997
Canadians have competitive edge
National speed skating team members Susan Auch, Catriona LeMay Doan and Jeremy Wotherspoon have been hitting new levels -- with the last two beating world records by a second less than two weeks ago. So you'd think they're planning to eclipse the rest of the world this weekend at this weekend's World Cup Sprints meet at the Olympic Oval.
"This close to the competition, you don't want to think about results," says Auch, the veteran on the team.
"You think about what you have to do in the race. I feel very confident that I can be at the very top if I skate technically as well as I have skated."
Well isn't the right adjective to describe the way the Canucks have been skating lately.
On Nov. 8, Wotherspoon and Le May Doan both obliterated the world records. Wotherspoon, the 21-year-old from Red Deer, set an Olympic Oval track record in the 1,000-metres with a time of 1:10.34. The world record -- which he doesn't hold because the race wasn't sanctioned by the world federation -- remains 1:11.67.
Le May Doan, 26, skated the 1,000-metre in a time of 1:16.64 and the 500-metre in 38.15. The world records are 1:17.65 and 38.69, respectively. The results didn't end there. Last weekend, at a World Cup meet in Roseville, Minn., Le May Doan and Wotherspoon each won a pair of gold medals, and Auch also claimed a gold.
Still, there won't be any chest thumping.
"It was disappointed with the way I skated last weekend ... which is exciting for the results I had," said LeMay Doan, who thinks she can better her 1:16 time in the 1,000 and maybe break the 38-second barrier in the 500.
"I want to approach the races picking something technical to work on, and if I do that ... I should come out with a good result."
Wotherspoon's goal will be to prove last weekend's results -- which also included a silver medal -- were no fluke.
But he's not putting extra pressure on himself.
"I think people think I can do it again. That wasn't even a race two weeks ago, it was just a practice race," he says.
"I could have a race not as good as last weekend and still have a faster time."