Sports

Hewitt fueled by family back home in Langley

Ryan Hewitt (left to right), Brandon Craig, Ashleigh Hall, Bryan Poitras, Michelle Lysohinka, Linda Craig and Brooklyne Craig sport their Jess Do It T-shirts in support of Jessica Hewitt, who is representing Canada at the Sochi Winter Games. - Dan Ferguson/Langley Times
Ryan Hewitt (left to right), Brandon Craig, Ashleigh Hall, Bryan Poitras, Michelle Lysohinka, Linda Craig and Brooklyne Craig sport their Jess Do It T-shirts in support of Jessica Hewitt, who is representing Canada at the Sochi Winter Games.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

Sochi may be 6,000 miles away, but one Canadian competitor knows her Langley family is back home cheering her on.

“My family means everything to me,” said Jessica Hewitt, in an email interview on Friday from Budapest, Hungary.

Hewitt, a 27-year-old short track speed skater, is representing Canada at the Sochi Olympic Games, which begin Feb. 7 in Russia.

She was in Europe for the past week with the rest of the Canadian team for some final training prior to the Olympic Games.

“They have always supported me in everything that I do, especially my dream of going to the Olympics,” she said.

“From an early age success in my sport meant traveling across Canada and family members always pitched in money to help me get to competitions.”

Hewitt was born in Langley but grew up in Kamloops, moving to the Interior when she was seven years old.

Her parents divorced and her dad, Gary, remained in Langley, while Hewitt stayed with her mom, Shelley.

Her grandparents — Shirley Hewitt, and John and Gail McInnes — aunts, uncles, and numerous cousins all still live in Langley and Fort Langley and are cheering on Hewitt from afar.

“It is pretty emotional (watching her), but exciting as well,” said Brandon Craig, one of her numerous cousins who still calls Langley home.

He had Skyped with his cousin just last week.

Both of Hewitt’s parents, her mom’s boyfriend, Hewitt’s boyfriend and his sister will be attending the Sochi Games.

The rest of her family, will follow from their computer screens and TVs.

“Every time she skates, we follow her on the computer,” said Donna Craig, Hewitt’s great aunt.

“We are just so proud of her. It has always been her dream, ever since she was little, and it has finally come true.”

“She really worked hard and sacrificed so much.”

Hewitt narrowly missed qualifying for the 2010 Games in Vancouver and nearly quit the sport.

“I’ve had the dream of attending the Olympics for as long as I can remember and there were times when I didn’t think it was possible,” she said.

“I remember nearly giving up on this dream after not qualifying in 2010 but in the last few years, I finally understood what it took to reach the level required to qualify.”

Her family is not surprised by Hewitt’s success.

“She has such determination and if she wants something, she definitely gets it,” Brandon Craig said.

Hewitt will be skating in the 500m event and the 3,000m relay event.

Being away from her family, especially around holidays and birthdays, is tough, but nothing new for Hewitt.

After high school, she moved from Kamloops to Calgary to train, and after 2010, she moved to Montreal to continue her Olympic pursuit.

Hewitt plans to return to B.C. for a visit following the Olympics.

photo below courtesy of www.jessicahewitt.ca

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