Last week, in one big breath, Canada saw one of its very best athletes, diver Alexandre Despatie, retire, and an equally great champion, speed skater Jeremy Wotherspoon, announce his comeback. It was a remarkable juxtaposition; Despatie leaving the arena because he knows it’s the end, Wotherspoon jumping back in because he doesn’t want it to be. Continue reading
Recently I learned that I’ve been unceremoniously removed from Schedule B. I didn’t even know what Schedule B was, or that it existed for that matter, until I found out I was no longer on it. At a recent meeting of the powers that be at Speed Skating Canada, where such things are decided, my name was briefly highlighted then swiftly deleted without so much as a sigh, or so I’m told. Continue reading
Over the years I’ve written, and spoken, ad infinitum (ad nauseum?) about the moment I first discovered my Olympic dreams. You know – the torch, the ’88 Olympics, Gaetan Boucher, speed skating – that whole bit. If it is possible to pinpoint the one little moment my heart started beating for skating, then I guess it would have to be when we stopped at that Petro-Canada to fill up on gas and I saw the poster advertising the 1988 Olympic Torch Relay. Similarly, I can pinpoint the one little moment my heart stopped beating for skating too.
I remember clearly the first real speed skating race I ever won. It was at the North American age class championships in Lake Placid, New York circa 1991. It was a long track 800m mass-start race and I won it, surprisingly, beating a group of girls who, until that point, beat me handily nearly every time we stepped onto the ice to race. Continue reading