Road To The Olympic Games

Wickenheiser finds special meaning in oath

There were mixed emotions for Hayley Wickenheiser as she took the athletes' oath at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics on Friday.

There were mixed emotions for Hayley Wickenheiser as she took the athletes' oath at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics on Friday.

The Canadian women's hockey star from Shaunavon, Sask., took the oath on behalf of some 2,700 athletes in the Games but says it took on special meaning after the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed in a training accident earlier in the day.

"It was kind of a sombre moment and an exciting moment all in the same," Wickenheiser said.

"It felt proud to be a Canadian and have the opportunity to stand in front of the world really and represent the athletes," she added. "Especially with what happened today with the Georgian luger."

This is the fifth Olympics for Wickenheiser, widely regarded as the best female hockey player in the world.

Wickenheiser was pleased her family could be there to share the moment with her.

"My parents were there, my son was there and my best friend so it couldn't have been better," she said.

Wickenheiser's mother Marilyn said she wasn't planning to attend the ceremony but decided to go when she found out her daughter would have a role.

"We were very proud of her, she did a good job, read it with enthusiasm and like she really meant it," Marilyn Wickenheiser said afterwards. "It was awesome."

The athletes' oath has been part of the opening ceremonies since 1920 and was modified in 2000 to include the vow of drug-free participation.