Lopes-Schliep enjoying her success
Canadian Priscilla Lopes-Schliep has now had three days to enjoy the world championship silver medal she won Wednesday night in the women's 100-metre hurdles final in Berlin. It's been a fantastic time for the soon to be 27-year-old.
Grinning from ear to ear, she even brought the medal to the stadium to show the CBC television crew and appeared especially pleased that her name and country are engraved on the back. Wearing the maple leaf is clearly a matter of pride. The fact she continues to progress after a surprising Olympic bronze medal a year ago sits well with her and her vast group of supporters.
The medal is safely tucked away while she sits in the stands with Dylan Armstrong and other Canadian team members cheering on hammer thrower Sultana Frizell and the men's 4x100m relay team. She can afford time to relax now but on Monday she heads to Zurich to compete in Friday's IAAF Golden League meet. Then it's back to business.
"Yesterday my husband took me out for dinner, I wanted chicken, and I had my ice cream for an early birthday celebration," she said. "My birthday is on the 26th. I was able to get a medal at the championships for my birthday.
"Yesterday we went out and did a little sightseeing. We saw Checkpoint Charlie, we went all around trying to take in the culture and see what Berlin has to offer. Normally before a race you are relaxing, so to go around and enjoy things before I have to go back on the circuit is really nice."
Both her husband, Bronsen Schliep, and her coach, Anthony McCleary, went home Saturday morning but this is one athlete who will not be short of friends on the circuit. Among the first to congratulate her the other night was American Lolo Jones, the 2008 IAAF world indoor 60-metres hurdles champion who is doing TV commentary in Berlin for Eurosport. She fell during the U.S .trials and didn't make the team. She will also be in Zurich. The hurdlers make quite a sorority taking care of one another.
"We hurdlers are pretty much a family away from home," Lopes-Schliep explains. "It gets pretty lonely, it's not a lot of fun if you are going to stay in your hotel and be a hermit. We go out and do dinner. But when we step on the track, believe me, we all want that No. 1 spot. It's the office, it's the job. But when we are not on the track we hang out at the hotel. Everyone is cool."
Lopes-Schliep's personality lets her forget the pre-race hassle she experienced when she was called into doping control before the final, an incident that earned a letter of apology from the IAAF to Athletics Canada.
"I haven't got an explanation per se," she admits. "Somebody mentioned they were going to send a letter. I haven't seen it. Hopefully it's taken care of so Canada, or any other country, never has to deal with something like that again."
Once the season is over and she returns home she would like to share her experiences in Berlin with kids. She has often done school visits to try to motivate students to take up sport.
"There was a time when a coach told me 'oh you would be a good hurdler' and I laughed, 'OK, sure.' Now look at me today. I have a world medal. I have an Olympic medal. So, basically I want to motivate others.
"I think different things have made me hungry. The last world indoors I fell down. It humbled me and, not that I wasn't humble before, but it makes you think that if you take things for granted, with a snap of a finger, it can be taken away from you."
In an event where one mistake can prove the distance between a podium finish and last place, Lopes-Schliep is enjoying the latest success while it lasts.