“You don’t get to compete on this, the greatest of athletic stages without that fire, that passion,” said Jon Montgomery, 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist, Skeleton. He won the first gold medal in Whistler for Canada. He’s been dubbed Manitoba’s “Golden Boy,” a moniker that is so apropos on Manitoba Day, celebrated today, during the Olympics up in Canada. It’s the name taken from the statue that sits atop the Parliament Building in Winnipeg, also called “Golden Boy.”
Montgomery has been busy these past six days since winning the Gold Medal…doing what Canadians do… going to hockey games. “I had the opportunity to go check out the hockey games at Canada Place in Vancouver. I got to meet the Great One, Wayne Gretzky. I just taped a segment for Oprah that will air tomorrow [Friday Feb. 26th].” He’s been busy – but not too busy to notice how well the Canadian women are representing their country during these Olympics. “You can’t hold back those Canadian women. They’re reppin’ Canada real well. So thank you very much to the ladies.”
“Girls Rock!” Is the message Clara Hughes had to give the world the day after her Bronze Medal win in her self-declared final Olympic competition. Hughes is a big supporter of Right To Play, an organization that supports female athletic competition and involvement. “I have a lot of opportunities as a Canadian female athlete. My travels throughout the world has shown me that.”
For Hughes, competing in the Olympics, each of them, has been a dream she worked to make come true.
“The mythology of the Olympics. I feel so connected to it. It allows for human beings to strive for excellence. I’ve gone to each Olympics and have not been afraid, no matter where I’ve been in the world,” said Clara at a Canadian Olympic Committee press conference. She added that she can’t wait for to bring home her Olympic Medal.
“I am bringing my beautiful Bronze medal home to the Maple forests of Quebec,” she said.
She spoke for some time about her husband’s involvement, as a teacher, with the Take A Hike Foundation, a non-profit that gets city kids out into nature and the “great outdoors.” She likens the nature experiences for the kids to what sports did for her as a child.
The program reminds her, she said of when she was a “misdirected teenager” and how getting involved in sports really focused her.
“At 14, 15 years old I was smoking a pack a day of cigarettes and then I watched the Olympics and it focused me. That’s what sports and programs like Take A Hike can do for kids,” said Hughes. Clara Hughes won her sixth Olympic medal in the 5,000 meters at the Richmond Oval in Vancouver this week.
She is only the fourth person in history to win medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games.
Some advice from Clara Hughes: To Kids: Don’t be afraid of anything. Every time I have stepped onto the Olympic stage I’ve brought my very best. That’s what gives me a sense of satisfaction that is out of this world.
To Parents: I encourage all parents to get involved , to water their kids seed of curiosity. My mother, family have been very supportive. Especially when I was young and getting into all sorts of trouble.
Her parting comments? “It’s been quite a ride these past 20 years. I think I need a long vacation.”
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