Wotherspoon out for the season?
Wotherspoon was coming off one of his best seasons ever, winning nine of 10 World Cup 500-metre races in the 2007-08 campaign after returning from a year away from competition.
But in his his second race of this World Cup season, the 32-year-old native of Red Deer, Alta., lost his balance as he was pushing off with his left skate and went careening into the protective mats. He broke his upper left arm when he put it up to protect himself as he slid into the mats.
Wotherspoon, who’d never broken anything before in his career, was taken off the ice on a stretcher. His arm in a cast, he later returned to have supper with the team at their hotel.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Wotherspoon, understandably not in much of a mood to talk, in a phone interview. “I just went down and hit the mats pretty quickly. I didn’t have time to right myself because I was in the outer lane.”
Finn Halvorsen, director of the Canadian long track team, said that if there are no complications with Wotherspoon’s broken arm he could be back for the final World Cup event March 6-8 in Salt Lake City and then compete in the world single distance championships on the new Olympic Oval in Richmond, B.C. the next week.
But Halvorsen said there is a chance Wotherspoon might not be ready in time for the worlds.
It was the second serious crash for a veteran Canadian sprinter in as many days as Mike Ireland of Winnipeg separated his shoulder in a fall on Friday.
“I’ve been in speed skating some years and I’ve never seen something like this,” said Halvorsen, who has piloted to the Norwegian and American teams to great Olympic success in the past. “I would say it’s absolutely bad luck. Mike and Jeremy never fall.”