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e036 – Behind the Scenes with Catriona Le May Doan

Catriona Le May Doan has represented Canada in speed skating in 4 Olympic Games. She took her place in the Canadian Olympic history books at Salt Lake City 2002 where she became the first Canadian athlete to successfully defend an Olympic gold medal in an individual event. Catriona had been a double medallist four years earlier at Nagano 1998, winning 500m gold in Olympic record time and winning a bronze medal in the 1000m. She was also given the honour of carrying the Canadian flag at the Closing Ceremony.

Catriona was the world’s dominant female sprinter of the 1997-98 season. In November 1997 she became the first woman to break the 38-second barrier in the 500m, skating it in 37.90 seconds in Calgary. She lowered the mark five more times over the next four years, eventually setting the record at 37.22 seconds in December 2001, which stood until March 2007. At the 1998 World Single Distances Championships, she won gold in the 500m and silver in the 1000m. She was also crowned World Sprint Champion and was the overall World Cup champion in the 500m and 1000m.

That dominance continued as she won the 500m world title in 1999 and 2001 to go with a bronze medal in 2000.

With her impressive resume, Catriona was named Canadian flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony at Salt Lake City 2002, her fourth Olympic Games. She skated to another Olympic record – one that would not be broken until Sochi 2014 – to win her second straight gold medal in the 500m. She was named the 2002 recipient of the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s Athlete of the Year and earned her third career (1998, 2001, 2002) Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canadian Female Athlete of the Year.

Since her retirement from speed skating, Catriona has been heavily involved in the community through such organizations as The Saskatoon Foundation and the Catriona Le May Doan Endowment for Children and Youth. She is also an ambassador for the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Canada, Right to Play and Special Olympics Canada. She served on the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and is a Board member of the Canada Games Council and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary. Since 2019 she has been the President and CEO of Sport Calgary.

Catriona was part of the broadcast team at five Olympic Games, earning a Gemini for Best Sports Analyst for her speed skating work at Vancouver 2010. She has received three honorary degrees from the University of Calgary, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina, giving the convocation speech to their graduating classes. Catriona was inducted to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2008 and appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Catriona served as the Lead Athlete Mentor for Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018 and will be Team Canada’s Chef de Mission at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. She is also a mom of two kids! 

 
In this episode:

There are times for intense focus & times to stop, look around, & soak it all in. 
Behind the scenes. There are the highlights & the successes & then, there is the rest of the story. 
Be real with yourself so that you can be real with your kids. 
Follow your own path. Love what you are doing. Do what is right for you. 
Find out what gives you energy and allows you to recharge. 

 
Connect with Catriona:

Instagram: @catrionald
Facebook: @catriona.doan
Sport Calgary: https://www.sportcalgary.ca

If you prefer to listen, check out Episode 36 of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast. 

PRESSURE AS AN ATHLETE
Catriona talks about how, as an athlete, it's a bit of a do or die and it's a little bit of life and death. You put that much pressure on yourself. People might not see it, but the nation puts pressure. The media puts pressure. There's so much, but you don't really acknowledge it at the time. For Catriona,

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