“I don’t think it’s a question of beating the men, I just think the girls are doing outstanding,” said Tania Vicent in a press conference this morning.
Her womens speedskating relay team won silver medals yesterday in Canada’s best day at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics so far. One reporter stated that compared to other countries, Canada’s women have won 80% more medals, which is an epic accomplishment. This of course set a “girl power” theme for the rest of the press conference.
Team members Marianne St-Gelais, Jessica Gregg, Tania Vicent and Kalyna Roberge sat together, discussing rookie and veteran experiences at these Games. Marianne being a first-timer and Tania having won four medals in the last four Winter Olympics.
“I think if the guys weren’t there to help us on the team we wouldn’t be where we are,” added Tania, giving a hat tip to their male Canadian team members. Each woman had the chance to respond to questions, more of which were asked in French. However, when asked if they had rituals or good luck charms they burst into a chant from Finding Nemo that they used to get pumped up.
The team spirit and comeraderie was beaming from these ladies, two of which will also compete tomorrow in individual races.
Update: Coming up next, the Clara Hughes press conference. Hughes is the most decorated Olympian who has competed in both Summer and Winter Games. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2007 and was the flag-bearer at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony.
Update: “The desire of an athlete runs strong and it runs deep. There is no gender in that desire,” said bronze medalist Clara Hughes as her press conference began. As with the relay team before her, many of the questions were targeted around the success of Canadian women at these Olympics.
After winning multiple medals in both the Summer and Winter Games she was asked what’s next? Her response, “I think I need to take a long vacation.” The rest would be well-deserved as she is a shining example of the hard-working Canadian determination and passion we’ve seen from our athletes at Vancouver 2010.
Hughes also announced that she will be donating her medal bonus ($10,000 CDN) to the non-profit “Take a Hike“. A local Vancouver teacher started the program for at-risk youth and it takes them on adventures to learn life and sports skills. She also gave the teacher two tickets to her 3000m race yesterday and he awarded them to students who got to watch her skate to bronze.
Hughes said she has a “sense of satisfaction that is out of this world.” When comparing womens medal counts to other nations she expressed sincere appreciation for being a Canadian athlete, “no matter how crazy my dreams may be, I have a chance to achieve them because I am Canadian.”
Her performance at the Richmond Olympic Oval last night was her last and she described it so very well: “It came together with the most perfect efficiency of movement on ice for me and it was the most beautiful feeling in the world.”
She said when embarking on her Olympic journey she thought, “somebody’s going to win so I might as well try, it just might be me.” She had inspirational words for future Olympians and children everywhere, saluting supportive and encouraging parents. “Remember to dream and don’t be afraid of trying, you never know where you will end up.”