Central Alberta Olympians share memories

No longer competing but staying tuned to the action

Former Olympians Mellisa Hollingsworth and Danielle Wotherspoon-Gregg will join millions of Canadians who will be watching the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on big and small screens.

It’s the first time in years that neither of them will be at the Winter Games — competing or watching.

Hollingsworth, who grew up on a ranch outside Eckville, won bronze in the women’s skeleton event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, fifth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and 11th at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

She said choosing her favourite Olympics is like asking someone to pick their favourite child.

Ironically, missing out on competing in the 2002 Games in Salt Lake probably had the biggest impact on her career, she said.

“If I had competed at those Games most likely I would have finished middle of the pack and got to have my title of being an Olympian and the jacket. And who knows? That may have been enough for me at that point in time,” said Hollingsworth who retired in 2014.

She said her disappointment actually helped her figure out if the Olympics was something she really wanted to pursue.

“It made me dig a whole lot deeper and put an entire different support group around me. I understood exactly what it took to get there and to be on top. As everybody knows, some of those missteps are necessary to have that success.”

During the PyeongChang Olympics, she actually has other things planned that will occupy a lot of her time. But she’ll keep an eye on friends who are competing and what’s going on in her sport.

“I’ll be watching it here, there, everywhere. We’re so plugged in and connected. I”ll be able to pull up my phone and check in,” Hollingsworth said.

Olympic speed skater Danielle Wotherspoon-Gregg, who placed 33rd in the 500-metre in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, said she will be cheering for teammates she competed with, as well as her brother, Olympic medalist Jeremy Wotherspoon.

“My brother is coaching for Norway so obviously I’m cheering for some of the Norwegians, which is a conflict,” Wotherspoon-Gregg said with a laugh.

“But I still hope for good things for my brother.”

Wotherspoon-Gregg, who has been at every Winter Olympics since 1998, was feeling nostalgic in the days leading up to the opening ceremony.

One of her favourite Olympic memories was participating in the opening ceremony with her husband speedskater Jamie Gregg at the 2014 Games.

“For me walking into the stadium with the rest of the team, and then being right beside my husband, was a pretty awesome experience, a goose-bump moment.”

She said opening ceremony energy can’t be replicated.

“We’re walking out and everyone is looking at us. It’s just a happy moment. No one has had their good or bad moment yet during the games. Everyone is still priming for the event, all their hopes and dreams on the line.

“There’s so many people watching. Your country’s name is called then everyone from your country is smiling and happy,” said the athlete who grew up competing for the Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club and retired from the sport in 2014.

It’s one of the biggest shows on earth and it’s all about the athletes, she said.

“A lot of these sports aren’t covered that well between the four years so now you have everyone in the spotlight,” Wotherspoon-Gregg said.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

Queens raised $12,035 for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Turkey to reveal details of probe into Khashoggi’s killing

ISTANBUL — In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey… Continue reading

Utah truck driver is jailed without bond after crash kills 6

HEBER, Utah — A man suspected of driving under the influence remained… Continue reading

A ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march toward US

TAPACHULA, Mexico — A ragged army of Honduran migrants streamed through southern… Continue reading

Postal workers to begin strikes in 4 Canadian cities Monday if deal not reached

OTTAWA — The union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees says it will… Continue reading

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Most Read