Videos: Catriona Le May Doan, Speed Skating

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I had a streak of 20 wins in the 500m. I never knew that I had that streak going. It was actually the media that informed me of it and I learned about it when that win streak ended. So I never really focused on the statistics and those streaks. But when you look back and realize it was 20 wins, that’s kind of cool.

The fact that the women that I raced against called me the Boss of the 500, it was wonderful having that confidence that they knew that I was the one to beat. And yet sport is unpredictable and so it doesn’t matter how much you dominate in a race, each race and especially at an Olympics you never know what will happen until you cross the finish line.

Going into Salt Lake City there was a huge amount of pressure on myself, mainly because everybody kept saying no Canadian has ever defended an individual Gold medal. A lot of people saw me go into the line on my second 500m going to defend my title and they said I looked so confident and so strong. Well, ha, maybe I’m a good actor because on the inside I was a bit of a mess. I was nervous, I wasn’t confident. Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt had had the race of her life the day before. She was within 4/100ths from my time and so we were paired together in that final 500. It just seemed like everything was going against our team and I really, the night before, I broke down and I didn’t have the confidence. But again it was that team, that support team around me that gathered together and they helped walk me through and talk me through how good I was and, and why I should have the confidence, and not worry about what other people were doing but just focus on my own skating.

When I defended I thought okay, I’ve, proved all these people wrong it can be done. And since that time I’ve realized watching these athletes go to their next Olympics and try to defend their Gold medal how difficult it was to do. Just the pressure and trying to stay at the top. It’s hit me more now that I’ve been away from the sport and away from racing, but I’m very proud that myself along with the people who helped me get there, that I was able to do that.

My three Olympic medals equal about 3 minutes of 23 years of speed skating. Those medals are special and yet they don’t dictate who I am. So that’s what I’ve always tried to make sure is that people celebrate Olympic success and we should and that’s wonderful. But you need to be again the same person and you need to be able to be an inspiration and be a good and positive role model to kids and to adults even beyond those medals.

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