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Winter Olympics:  Scott Speedman (People))



When Scott Speedman was just 9 years old, the young Canadian swimmer told The Toronto Sun that the Olympics were his ultimate goal, "for the victory and to be there and achieve something."

These days, Speedman, 26 and best known as Felicity's Ben Covington, is achieving a lot -- as an actor. His Olympic wish never came true.

That's because an injury derailed his athletic career. As a young teenager he belonged to a relay team that held the national record for the 400-meter medley, and in 1992, the freestyle specialist went to the Olympic trials and placed 9th. But then he was forced to give up the sport after succumbing to a "nerve problem" in his neck, he told The Toronto Sun in 1995, after scoring a role in the Nancy Drew TV series. "I could hardly pull through the water anymore," he said. "All of a sudden I go from 11 times a week training -- my life -- to doing nothing."

Soon after the injury, a dare from a friend propelled him to appear on Speaker's Corner, an open forum show on Canadian TV. He announced on the air that he wanted to audition for the part of Boy Wonder in Batman Forever. A few weeks later, a casting director gave him a shot.

He lost out to Chris O'Donnell, but the experience led Speedman to an agent who helped him launch an acting career. In addition to his TV credits, the actor last year appeared in Duets, a movie about karaoke hustlers with Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis.

As Ben on Felicity, Speedman plays a sensitive jock, which isn't too far from reality. On his off days he runs on trails in and around Los Angeles. He also loves to hike, camp and play basketball and tennis. Look for him next in Plague Season, a crime drama set in Los Angeles during the tense days leading up to the verdict in the Rodney King trial and the riots that followed.


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