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  • canada sked medal results SLAM!  NAGANO

    Sunday, November 23, 1997

    Wotherspoon goes 1-for-2

    By TOM BRENNAN -- Calgary Sun
      Essentially, he was too fast for his own good.
     "I was skating really well," Jeremy Wotherspoon explains. "I was going so fast I caught up to my pair on the crossover. And I lost a lot of speed there."
     Winner of the 500-metre race an hour earlier, Wotherspoon looked poised to do the same in the 1000 -- until he was impeded by Holland's Jakko Jan Leeuwangh at about the 400-metre mark.
     Wotherspoon, as the guy on the outside, had the right of way. The Dutchman was disqualified, but the damage had been done. Wotherspoon ended up fifth, 14/100ths of second behind Jan Bos of the Netherlands and Japan's Manabu Horii, who finished in a rare tie for first.
     Wotherspoon was surprised he appeared to be so much quicker than Leeuwangh.
     "Last week (at the World Cup season-opener in Minnesota), we were first and second in both races. I thought we would've been more equal than it was today.
     "I really had no option but to stand up," he shrugged. "I guess I could've tried skating on the outside, but he probably would've come right into me. It's tough when you have so little time to think.
     "It can happen, I don't think he was purposely trying to get in my way. It's over now. I'm going to forget about it."
     No, the 21-year-old from Red Deer couldn't be too unhappy, not after winning for the second time this year in the 500.
     "I expected I had the potential to do a time that fast," he said of his 35.50 clocking, 11/100ths off the world mark, but still a Canadian record. "It shows I was ready to race today.
     "I expected, if anything, to have two wins in the 1000, not the 500, or at least to be better in the 1000. They've been pretty equal, I've just had bad luck in the 1000."
     As for pressure to hit the top step of the podium again this afternoon, he doesn't feel it.
     "I think there was more pressure coming into today, off last weekend," he said.
     Kitchener native Kevin Overland, who tied Winnipeg's Mike Ireland for the bronze in the 500, came within 1 1/100th of making it a three-way tie for gold in the 100.
     Sure, he was replaying the race in his mind, but no, he wasn't kicking himself.
     "Actually, it's more of a relief, after the way I skated last week," said Overland. "I was disappointed, so coming here and skating almost a world record is quite satisfying.
     "And, like I say, a relief that I'm back in the game.
     "Sure, you start to doubt yourself, and nothing else but skating well is the only thing that will get rid of the doubts."
     Seeing Catriona LeMay Doan and Susan Auch burn it up going 1-2 in the ladies 500 was a major boost, he added.
     "It pulls me along, I love to see the team skate well," he declared. "Watching Catriona and Susan rubs off on me. I perform better, I think."