Videos: Susan Auch, Speed Skating
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My brother was in a power-skating class for speed skating and it was being taught by two speed skaters in Winnipeg and they convinced him to come to a competition. And my mother made me choose between Brownies and speed skating and they were on the same night. I could either come with them to speed skating or go with a buddy to Brownies and I went to speed skating and fell in love with it.
I think short track was really the impetus that made me a great long-track skater in the end right. And you know my experience in short track made me have an expectation of winning. I had won World Championship medals, I’d won Gold medals at the World Championships. I felt in my, you know it was a demonstration sport but I’d won an Olympic medal in short track and that expectation when I got on the team with long-track to not just make the team and travel to Europe but to work towards winning Olympic medal at the next or the Olympics after that.
The Olympics in Norway, we actually skated in a town called Hamar. For me it was, whether or not it was you know silver or bronze really. The Gold medal racer was Bonnie Blair and she was my idol for sure. Up until that point she was an amazing skater and she was well out in front of most of us. And sure had I had you know, had she had some bad luck maybe I could have won a Gold medal but my opportunity was just to get into the medals. It was an amazing experience for sure. I had the race of my life. And had I not won an Olympic medal I would have had to be satisfied with that.
It’s, it’s a compliment when anybody ever tells me that I had a rivalry with Bonnie Blair because Bonnie was a skater you know in her own little category. To beat her here in Calgary for real right, like so I won a race in Innsbruck but my pair was second and Bonnie was third. And I had to think at that time that, that was my first World Cup Gold medal. And at the time I didn’t have the confidence that that was a real medal. I thought well the wind helped us or hurt her. But you know within two weeks of media continually telling me that you know it was great and are you going to do it again in Calgary, then I started really believing I might do it again in Calgary. And coming out ahead of her in the 500 the first day of that race was a highlight for sure of my speed skating career.
Just before Christmas in 1995 I was called and told I won the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award and it was a tough season for me. I had injured my knee in the fall just before getting on the ice. It was pretty exciting. I had no idea that I was the first speed skater to win that award but it was a huge honour for sure. And then to have a lot of athletes follow me in that, and I would call it an expectation to win rather than just make the team. You know if that’s a legacy that I’ve left that would be an honour to me, that would make me feel absolutely fantastic.