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Retired Olympians speak about their sports and Calgary connections

Cindy Klassen, one of Canada's all-time most decorated Olympians, is now a Calgary police officer. She was joined by former skeleton racer Duff Gibson, a Calgary firefighter, and former skeleton team manager Scott McBride to talk about sports at SAIT.

Cindy Klassen, 1 of Canada's greatest Olympians, didn't even want to be a speed skater

Olympian Cindy Klassen, right, is joined by retired skeleton racer Duff Gibson and skeleton team manager Scott McBride for a special Q&A at SAIT on Thursday. (CBC)

One of Canada's all-time most decorated Olympians, Cindy Klassen, says she never wanted to be a speed skater.

When she was young, she played hockey and dreamed of one day joining the Olympic team after her parents found out women's hockey was coming to the 1998 games for the first time.

She played hockey for years, and even tried out for the team in 1997. When that didn't work out, her parents suggested she take up speed skating because she was so speedy on the ice.

"My first reaction was absolutely not because there was no way I was going to wear those tight skin suits," she laughed. "And the long blades looked funny to me and I thought my friends in hockey would laugh at me."

But after a bit of an awkward first time on the ice with speed skates, she kept coming back to practice. Fast forward a few years and she's a six-time Olympic medallist, tied with Clara Hughes for Canada's all-time most decorated Olympian.

Six-time Olympic medallist Cindy Klassen retired from speed skating in 2015. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Joined Calgary police ranks

After she retired in 2015, she became a Calgary police officer.

"I knew I wanted to do something where hopefully I can make a difference," she said. "Transitioning into becoming a police officer — it's been really tremendous. It's been more than I expected and I'm really enjoying the job."

She was joined by former skeleton racer Duff Gibson, who happens to be a Calgary firefighter, and former team manager Scott McBride to speak about their sports at SAIT. Watch it here.