Player's Own Voice

Player's Own Voice podcast: Laurent Dubreuil's daughter influences breakthrough season

Player's Own Voice podcast connects with speed skater Laurent Dubreuil, who is on the cusp of becoming the fastest man in history.

Veteran speed skater details a season for the ages, on and off the ice

Canada's Laurent Dubreuil celebrates after winning the men's 500-metre at the ISU World Cup speed skating event in Calgary on Dec. 10. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Veteran speed skater Laurent Dubreuil is having a career season many, many years after he took up the sport.

So he faces a friendly and blunt question from podcast host Anastasia Bucsis: "What took you so long?"

Dubreuil is quick to acknowledge that he had some great advantages coming up in Canada's most successful Olympic sport.

For starters, he is the child of two Olympians — Robert Dubreuil and Ariane Loignon. Having made their mark on the sports world, there was no stage parenting going on and no pressure on Laurent, outside of simply enjoying what he was doing.

Dubreuil had no problem giving maximum effort. His workouts were as long and tough as anyone's on the circuit. He had flashes of excellence, but his self-imposed desire to win big was getting in the way.

The harder he worked, the heavier he felt, and top tier results eluded him. Away from the ice, life was ticking along beautifully, and Laurent was delighted to announce a new daughter.

And that's where things get surprising. 

The pull of parenting made Dubreuil decide to spend more time hanging out with baby Rose, and less time training. He did fewer, but perhaps better workouts, and his times started to plunge. Amazingly, the less he fixated solely on racing, the better he did.

So now, eight races into this world cup season, Dubreuil has eight podiums in a row. He smashed the Canadian record in the 500-metre on Friday.

His relaxed plan to round into form for the Beijing Olympics is obviously on track. Dubreuil is having more fun than ever.

For our hard of hearing and deaf audience members, we are pleased to provide transcripts.

Like the CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series, the POV podcast allows athletes to speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective.

To listen to the entire fourth season, follow Player's Own Voice on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever else you do your podcast listening.

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