Fort dad dreams of cheering on Olympian daughter in Sochi

A Canadian Olympian’s dad is trying to get to Sochi, Russia to watch his daughter go for gold.

And you can help.

A fundraiser for Gary Hewitt, father of Canadian short track speedskater Jessica Hewitt, is taking place at the Fort Pub this Friday, Jan. 17 from 5-7 p.m.

Part proceeds from each $25 ticket will go to help finance Gary’s trip to Sochi.

“It’s a big dream of mine to go there and it’s a big dream of his to watch me [in the Olympics],” Jessica said. “He watched me for so many years growing up. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, and my way of giving back to them is to make my dream of [qualifying for the] Olympics. It means a lot for both my parents to be there to watch me live this moment.”

Each ticket is good for a burger and a beer. A prize raffle is also part of the evening.

Jessica, 27, was born in Langley and lived in Fort Langley until the age of six, when she moved to Kamloops with her family.

She lived in the Interior city until she was 18, and moved to Calgary to chase her Olympic dream.

Jessica now lives and trains in Montreal and qualified for the Canadian Olympic team at the Olympic Trials this past August by placing second in the 500m, fourth in the 1,000m, and fourth in the 1,500m races.

“The trials were 10 days long and really stressful,” she said. “Canada has really strong team.”

Four years ago, Jessica fell short of qualifying for Canada’s short track speedskating squad that competed at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver/Whistler.

This disappointment left her asking herself, “do I really want to continue?”

She decided to forge on, and improved to the point where she will be skating for her country in Sochi.

“A big reason why I made the team was that I never gave up, I guess,” Jessica said.

Training been going really great, in the days and months leading up to the Olympics Jessica said: “Everything is going perfectly. I’m on the right track.”

Jessica flies out of Canada on Jan. 25, and after some pre-Olympic training, will continue on to Sochi.

Her goal is to win a medal in the relay event and to skate to a top eight finish in her individual distance, the 500m.

In Sochi, Jessica is not only representing her country, but the province in which she grew up.

“I’m proud to be from B.C.,” she said.

Tickets for Friday’s fundraiser are available at the door of the Fort Pub, 9273 Glover Rd.

To view Jessica’s website, click here.

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