| Date of Birth:
May 13, 1975
Place of Birth: Yorkton, SK
Residence: Calgary, AB
Years on National Team:
After 10 years on the national team, long track speed skater Jason "Jaybird" Parker will amazingly be competing in his first Olympics in Turin. An illness in 1998 cost him a berth on the Nagano team, while an unlikely loss in the Canadian trials in 2002 had him watching from the grandstands as an alternate in Salt Lake City.
Missing the Nagano Games was particularly galling for Parker, who at the time was at the top of his skating game. After bursting onto the national scene with four gold medals at the 1995 Canada Winter Games, Parker soon earned a spot on the Canadian team. By 1997, he was one of the country's top skaters, winning a bronze medal in the 1500m at the World Championships. In the Olympic year of 1998, he would win a second World Championship bronze, this time in the 500m.
Over the years, as new skaters have moved past him on the team's depth chart, Parker has continued to hold his spot, waiting for his Olympic opportunity. He'll finally get that chance in 2006 as he goes for a medal on Canada's talented Team Pursuit squad, which has been tearing it up on the World Cup circuit over the past two seasons.
At age 30, and with plans to get married this spring, Parker says 2006 will be his racing swan song.
2006 Longtrackskating Coverage