Hopes are high for Canadian short track speed skater Jessica Gregg, who is expected to medal at this year’s Olympics.
Gregg, who will be competing in the 500-metres and 3,000-metre relay, began training in long track speed skating. At the age of 16, she changed her mind and begun training in long track.
In Feb. 2009, at the World Cup, she won her first gold medal in the 500m race.
“I started in long track, and Mom tried to encourage me in that direction,” Gregg told Alberta.ca.
“But when I was 16 a chance came up to try out for the World Junior short track team. I didn’t expect to make the team, but I did, and I did pretty well. I just loved it, and I stuck with it.”
Gregg grew up with skating in her blood. Her mother, Kathy competed in the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck and the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.
Her father, Randy, who is a five-time Stanley Cup winner with the Edmonton Oilers, played for Team Canada at two Olympics. Her brother Jamie is also competing at Vancouver as a long track speed skater.
Not only does Gregg have great genes but she also has the wisdom and knowledge of two parents already having experienced being at the Olympics.
“It’s cool knowing it [parents’ Olympic background] now, that they’ve been there and they’re going to watch my brother and me going to the Olympics,” she said. “But growing up, it was just like any other family.
“We were in a whole bunch of different sports, and it didn’t come up every day when we were younger.”
Kalyna Roberge is also expected to do well, having claimed a silver medal in the ladies 3,000-metre relay in the last Winter Olympics Games. Roberge will be competing in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, and the 3,000m relay.
Valerie Maltais was a bronze medalist at the 2009 World Junior Championship and is expected to medal in Vancouver. She will be competing in the 3,000m relay.
Marianne St-Gelais and Tania Vicent will also be competing in short track speed skating events.
The biggest threat for the Canadian ladies is Ahn Hyun-Soo of South Korea, a 23 year old coming off a knee injury who is regarded as the best skater in the world.
Ahn has medaled four times in the Olympics and has won four World Championships.
The medal events for the ladies short track speed skating will take place on Feb. 17 (500m), Feb. 20 (1,500m), Feb. 24 (3,000m relay), and Feb. 26(1,000m).