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Skating Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 02:33 GMT
Wotherspoon wipes out
Jeremy Wotherspoon tumbles out of the 500m
Jeremy Wotherspoon tumbles out of the 500m
Canada's Jeremy Wotherspoon, the World Cup speed skating leader, saw his bid for Olympic gold end when he crashed out of the 500m at the Utah Olympic Oval.

Wotherspoon made a terrific start to the race but tumbled out when he lost his footing moments later.

Coach Sean Ireland admitted Wotherspoon was finding it hard to come to terms with the cruellest possible exit from the competition.

"I think he was pretty shocked and startled," said Ireland.

"He said he was feeling good and the next thing he knew he was face down on the ice. He's feeling obvious disappointment."


That was one of the hardest things in speed skating I have ever had to see in my life

American speed skater Casey FitzRandolph

Wotherspoon's training partner, American Casey FitzRandolph, heads the standings after the first day, clocking an Olympic record and personal best of 34.42 seconds.

He leads by 0.19 from defending champion and world record holder Hiroyasu Shimizu of Japan who dispelled all doubts he had about his form.

The event is raced over two days with the best combined time the winner.

Wotherspoon is scheduled to start on Tuesday but now has no chance of winning.

A despondent Wotherspoon picks himself up
A despondent Wotherspoon picks himself up

The Canadian has been the most consistent sprinter in the world since the Nagano Olympics in 1998 when he took the silver medal.

Leader FitzRandolph said: "That was one of the hardest things in speed skating I have ever had to see in my life.

"He is one of my best friends and it was really hard to see that happen."

Wotherspoon must now turn his attention to the 1,000 metres race on Saturday, an event in which he holds the world record.

Ireland said: "He's really good at refocusing, that's one of his strengths."

Links to more Skating stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to more Skating stories



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