Canada has celebrated 6 gold medals so far during the Vancouver 2010 Games and I’ve been fortunate enough to sit in on press conferences with two of the champions so far, Alex Bilodeau and Maelle Ricker.
This morning women’s ski cross medalist Ashleigh McIvor will speak about her golden experience on the slopes yesterday.
Heading into the press conference with her stunning gold medal around her neck she said that it was “awkward to walk with” but man, it looks good. The following is live coverage from the press conference…
The first person to ask a question asks her about her lucky charms. “I’m not usually superstitious but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to keep things going the way they are going at the beginning of the season.” She wore a necklace and carried a Buddha on her for luck throughout the season and so she carried those with her as well during her Olympic run.
“We’ve just had such amazing support – the government and OTP,” she said. “Standing at the top of the race course I had this crazy feeling – it was all coming together perfectly.”
With regards to the weather she said she knew the other girls were probably getting stressed out but being on her home turf at Cypress (and being a Whistler girl) she said, “you have to ski by feel.”
When asked if she thought it would bring in a lot of young skiers she said, “Definitely. That’s one thing about ski cross right now is that it doesn’t have much on a grassroots level but hopefully we’ll get some kids coming over from alpine.”
After the qualifying round she said she went down into the stands to locate her friends and family so that after her next run, she’d know where to find them.
A student reporter asked her about playing a role in bringing ski cross to the Olympics, since she wrote an essay about promoting and including the sport. Although her essay never made it to the IOC, she said that winning the first gold medal as a woman in the sport was the proudest moment of her life. “I said to my coaches, ‘I can’t believe I won’ and they said, ‘I can’.”
“It’s such an honor to represent my hometown, my home province and my country on the world’s stage,” she added. Ashleigh handled a few more questions about beyond the ski cross race. “I just definitely would like to finish my education, do a whole bunch of heli-skiing,” and she also has taken on some modeling gigs.
“I have people emailing me saying I’ve inspired them or kids doing school projects about me… …I would love to develop ski cross at a grassroots level and get some kids involved.”