Possibly the greatest long track speed skating sprinter in history is to be honoured by the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
Red Deer’s Jeremy Wotherspoon, who had 67 career victories and 13 World Cup titles, will be inducted in the Hall, May 24 at the Sheraton Hotel, it was announced during a media gathering at the Hall of Fame Thursday.
Wotherspoon, who is Canada’s most decorated male speed skater of all-time, set, or reset 10 world records and currently holds the 500-metre mark of 34.03 seconds, set Nov. 8, 2007 in Salt Lake City.
He also has skated the four fastest laps in history, the fastest 24.32 seconds.
The four-time Olympian won silver in the 500m in the 1998 Games. He also won four world sprint championships and was Canada’s speed skating male athlete of the year from 1998-2005 and in 2008. The award was changed to the Jeremy Wotherspoon Award.
He was also inducted in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Wotherspoon was unavailable for the press conference as he and his family run a camp in Germany. He will, however, be on hand for the induction ceremonies.
Wotherspoon is one of 11 individuals to be inducted this year.
Others are chuckwagon driver Tom Glass, diver Blythe Hartley, goalball athlete Dean Kozak, baseball’s Chris Reitsma, multisport builder Orest Korbutt, field hockey builder Dr. Dru Marshall, basketball and football builder Jim Whitelaw, rodeo athletes Oscar Raymond Knight and Earl W. Bascom, who won the Pioneer Award, and long-time outdoor sports writer, Bob Scammell, who received the Bell Memorial Award.
l Glass competed for 35 years and had more than 40 major awards and victories. He won four Calgary Stampede championships and was the World Championship driver in 1980, ‘81 and ‘88.
l Hartley was Canada’s first diving world champion, winning the one-metre title in 2001. She also won the 1m title in 2005. The three-time Olympian teamed with Emilie Heymans to win bronze in the 10m tower synchronized event at the 2004 Athens Olympics. She won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and had two gold and a bronze at the 2003 Pan-Am Games.
l Kozak competed in goalball from 1996-2009 and represented Canada at four Paralympic Games, winning silver in 1996. He also won three world championships and two Pan-Am Games.
l Reitsma was the first Canadian to be selected in the first round of the Major League draft. He was taken 34th overall by the Boston Red Sox in 1996. He made his major league debut April 4, 2001 for the Cincinnati Reds. He spent three seasons with the Reds before being traded to Atlanta in 2004.
l Korbutt was chairman of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame’s board of directors for 15 years before retiring last year.
He was also chairman of the Alberta Sports, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation and director with the Alberta Sports Council. He is also a past president of Hockey Alberta and was a director with the Canadian Hockey Association.
l Marshall coached field hockey at the university, national and international levels. She was a five-time Canada West coach of the year and two-time CIS coach of the year with the University of Alberta Pandas, who won six CIS medals durng her tenure.
l Whitelaw was an integral part of high school sports in Lethbridge from the 1940s to the ’70s. He was a founding organizer of the Lethbridge Minor Football Association and one of the founding members of the Alberta Schools Athletic Association. He was a coach for 28 years, coaching both the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute football and basketball teams.
l Knight was involved with the sport of rodeo in the early 1900s and was involved for 40 years. He started the Raymond Stampede in 1902, the first “stampede” style rodeo in Canada which became the first professional rodeo in 1903.
He introduced the event of calf-roping and invented the first bronc riding chute in 1903.
Bascom took Knight’s chute idea and redesigned the first side-delivery chute in 1916. He also designed the hornless bronc saddle in 1922 and the one-handed bareback rigging in 1924. In 1926 he created the first high cut riding chaps.