Speed Skating Canada to honour all-time greatest sprinter at World Championships

Speed Skating Canada to honour all-time greatest sprinter at World Championships in Calgary

CALGARY – With the World Sprint Championships taking place at the Olympic Oval in Calgary on Saturday, Jan. 28 and Sunday, Jan. 29, Speed Skating Canada (SSC) and the event’s Organizing Committee Calgary will honour the all-time greatest sprinter, Canadian Jeremy Wotherspoon.

The tribute for Wotherspoon, Canada’s most decorated male speed skater of all-time, will be take place Saturday, Jan. 28 immediately following the men’s 1,000-metres races. Emceed by veteran CBC sports and speed skating broadcaster, Steve Armitage, the tribute will be attended by Wotherspoon’s wife and former national team member, Kim Weger, and daughter Ella, his parents and sisters, former teammates and SSC representatives.

“It is a great feeling to be honored for what I have done in speed skating, especially in Calgary, the home of Canadian speed skating,” said Wotherspoon. “If not for the Olympic Oval, not only would we have no walls on which to honor Canadian Olympic medalists, but there is a good chance there would be no posters to put up. This facility has changed the face of speed skating in Canada, and I am very thankful to be honored at the facility that I am so indebted to.”

At the time of his retirement, Wotherspoon had a record 67 career victories and 12 overall World Cup titles. He set, reset or broke the 500-metre and 1,000-metre world records several times throughout his career, and his 500-metre world record of 34.03 seconds in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2007, still stands today.

“The World Sprint Championships is one of the biggest events of the year and it's an event that I have won four times in my career,” added the native of Red Deer, Alberta. “So it is a very big honor to have my achievements recognized during the 2012 World Sprint Championships in Calgary. I am excited to see a giant photo of myself hanging in the facility where I spent some many years training.”

Wotherspoon also noted the advantage for Canadian skaters to be competing in front of hometown fans. "There is nothing like racing at home, the support from the crowd gave me a lot of energy and excitement both times I competed in the World Sprint Championships in Calgary. It was a great feeling to recognize voices and faces that came to help me win."

Wotherspoon was selected as SSC’s Male Skater of the Year – Long Track from 1998 through 2005, and in 2008. This award was renamed the Jeremy Wotherspoon Award.

He currently lives in Inzell, Germany with his family. Wotherspoon and his wife work at the KIA Speed Skating Academy, a training program for skaters from less funded countries. They were involved in the development of the academy and he is now coaching.

Tickets for the championships, which include the tribute, are available at www.speedsk8.ca. Only premium tickets, providing access to the most preferred seating area, are being sold online. These tickets guarantee entry to the championship, in the event of a sell-out.