Wotherspoon, Jeremy

Jeremy Wotherspoon, speed skater (b at Humboldt, Sask 26 Oct 1976). He began speed skating at the age of eight. He grew up doing both long and short track, practising his short-track skills in the fall and spring on indoor rinks while waiting for the long-track rink outdoors to freeze. In 1994 he moved to Calgary for more formal training. He emerged onto the Junior World scene in 1995 with a 16th-place finish in the World Junior Championships. Two years later he was consistently placing in the top podium positions in international competition. Wotherspoon was ranked first in the World Cup standings in 1998, and at Nagano he won a silver medal in the 500 m. After the Olympics he became one of the most consistent sprint winners in the world, breaking world records in the 500 m and 1000 m. He also won three consecutive World Cup titles in both distances, two World Sprint Championships in the 500 m (1999, 2000) and one in the 1000 m at the World Single Distance Championships (2001).

Although Wotherspoon was highly favoured to win a medal at the 2002 Olympics at Salt Lake, an unfortunate fall in the first round of the 500 m eliminated him from competition. In an admirable display of sportsmanship, he choose to race the second round of the 500 m event even though the result would not count toward a medal. Although he held the world record for the 1000 m, he managed only a 13th-place finish in the 1000 m event that took place only days after his fall in the 500 m. An Olympic gold medal eluded him at Torino in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010, though he managed to garner several in World Cup wins in the interim years. Wotherspoon is considered the most successful 500 m racer of all time, winning a total of 67 World Cups. In 2010 he was inducted into CANADA'S SPORTS HALL OF FAME.