One hundred days from today, our athletes will hit ice, slopes, bobsled courses, ski jumps and half pipes to compete for gold at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. On the show tonight, we've got two of those athletes: Kaya Turski, who's currently the number-one ranked women’s slopestyle skier in the world, and Greg Westlake, who leads Canada's ice sledge hockey team. Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. on CBC TV to see both interviews.
To get you pumped for Sochi, we thought we'd put together a little look at some of the great Canadian olympians, past, present and future, who've graced the red chair.
The champion figure skater on falling: "I've been surprised sometimes. I've gone up and gone 'What am I doing up here? This is not gonna be good...' and then I'll land on my feet and be like, 'Oh my god! I'm on my feet!'"
The Olympic gold medal–winning swimmer on the relief he felt when he came out as gay to a coach: "In my last year of swimming I had to make seven years improvement in about 10 months [because] the world record was shattered in my event. And there's a moment when I knew that this demon that I had inside was really holding me back from that external goal. And so I told one of my coaches — it was a woman — and the relief that I felt... and the improvement that I made — I actually made that seven years in less than 10 months. And so I really think there's a direct impact between being authentic... and being able to get the most out of yourself."
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
The reigning Olympic ice dance champions on working within the confines of their sport: "It can be tricky. We see it as a challenge — that's the way we have to see it — but when you mix sport and artistry together you kind of have to leave room for the sport to grow. And I think we struggle a little bit with that."
The young X Games slopestyle champion, whose sport makes its Olympic debut at Sochi, on his relationship with fear: "You just get better at dealing with it. Where I find my happiness is pushing myself to new levels and finding the next thing.... You definitely need to scare yourself to progress."
The great Canadian figure skater, the first ever to land a quad jump in competition, on apologizing for not winning an Olympic medal in 1994: "Winning the Olympics was never a dream for me.... What I visualized was being able to see Canada have 16 medals, and knowing that I gave them one of those.... I wanted to participate in that ledger, that list. I was a world champion going in, and it was my job to come home with the checkmark. And it didn't happen."
Adam Van Koeverden
The highly decorated Olympic kayaker on the term "amateur sport": "I'm a professional and I think the word 'amateur' is a bit antiquated. Sure, we'll call it amateur because that's what it's always been called, but I think we're way past this Chariots of Fire ideal of amateurism."
The only Canadian athlete to win medals in both the winter and summer games (in speed skating and cycling, respectively), on why women's cycling is cleaner than men's: "I firmly believe I am stepping back into a sport where I have a legitimate, honest chance of being the best I can on a very equal, level playing field... because there's no money in it! It's awesome! Most girls race for nothing!"
The two-time Olympic medal-winning freestyle skier on life after skiing: "I truly believe I could go to Sochi and win a medal... I'm in great shape. I still have the passion, I definitely still have the drive. But I want to find success off the slopes."
Bonus: John Carlos
Ok, he's not a Canadian Olympian. But the one-time track-and-field star made history at the 1968 Summer Olympics after winning bronze in the 200-metre race and raising his fist in a Black Power salute, along with fellow American Tommie Smith. Carlos on the moment his grandsons discovered his past: "I have two twin grandsons. And they know me as grandpa. They don't know my history because I don't tell my kids my history. And so they went to this book signing and they're texting like all the kids texting and they're having a good time.... And then they see that they had to stop people from coming in because the place was full to capacity.... And Dave Zirin phrased it correctly when he says, 'John Carlos's grandkids look like someone whispered in their ear and told them that your grandfather was Batman or something.'"