Oberhofen – Switzerland, July 31, 2013: Canada’s Beckie Scott became the first Canadian and indeed first North American to win an Olympic Gold medal in Cross-Country Skiing at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City (USA). She followed up that success at the 2006 Olympics in Turin (ITA), winning a silver medal in the team sprint. Scott retired from skiing as an athlete following the 2006 World Cup season. She has stayed involved with the sport at the highest level as an athlete representative with both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as numerous national and international charities. Scott currently lives in Canmore, Alberta (CAN) with her husband and their two children.
FIS Newsflash took the opportunity to interview her:
You retired at the end of the 2006 World Cup season where you finished second in the overall standings. Do you recall your thoughts or emotions when you hung up your skis?
I remember initially feeling a lot of relief and liberation from the daily training routine and the enormous physical and emotional effort involved in trying to be one of the best skiers in the world. I knew when I retired that it was over, and I was just really happy to have ended my career on a high-note and to be free from the training, the stress of trying to stay healthy and injury-free, and the daily challenges of trying to bring 100% to everything I did, year after year. Gradually though, the reality of transitioning away from everything I had also loved about being a ski racer sunk in, and, if I’m completely honest it was quite an emotional roller-coaster. It was very hard at times.
Looking back at your career, at all the World Cup, World Championship and Olympic results, is it possible to pick a highlight moment?
There were a lot of great days, but without a doubt the medal win in Salt Lake City 2002 will remain permanently inked in my book of highlights. To actually live out a moment you have been dreaming of, working towards and planning for most of your life, after going through so many years of discouraging results and races, is almost indescribable. And then to be able to celebrate it with most of the people who’ve been there for the journey, it doesn’t get any better than that.
Before your career ended you were already a member of the WADA Athlete Committee and following the 2006 Turin Olympics you were elected to the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Is it safe to say that, that this is where your focus and passion shifted to once you hung up your skis?
I don’t know that I would say I’m “passionate” about sport politics, but I had always been interested in the concept of being a voice at the table where decisions were being made. It’s a very interesting and challenging landscape to navigate sometimes, but I’ve really enjoyed it for the most part. Nothing could replace the passion I had for being a World Cup skier, but having the opportunity to become educated on all that goes on behind the scenes and speak on behalf of athletes about issues that will affect them, has definitely been very rewarding and worthwhile.
Have you stayed in touch with teammates or competitors since you retired? Any in particular?
I feel really lucky because I still consider most of the teammates I had over the years on the Canadian team great friends. A few live down the road, and a few live a bit farther afield, but we do stay in touch and try to get together when we can and it’s always good for a laugh. I’ve also been able to see and spend time with Nina Kempel from the US lately as we are both a part of WADA now and get to see each other at meetings and that’s been really fun.
Is there an athlete you competed against that you would like to catch up with for a drink with?
That’s a great question! There are a bunch I would love to catch up with, but probably Gabriella Paruzzi and Anita Moen would top the list. They were two of my favourite characters on the World Cup when they were racing.
FIS Roller Ski World Cup in midstream
The FIS Roller Ski World Cup 2013 is slowly reaching its halfway point. Already nine of a total of 22 competitions have taken place since it began in Oroslavje (CRO) on 22nd June 2013.
In the ladies’ rankings, Russian skiers have shown their dominance and currently occupy the top six spots. Ksenia Konokhova is heading the standings with 595 points in front of Anna Grushina, (499) and Elena Ektova (466).
Among the men, the top positions are in Italian and French hands. Simone Paredi of Italy, who claimed last year’s third place in the overall Roller Ski World Cup standings, is currently leading with 480 points ahead of compatriot Eugenio Bianchi. With two victories on the previous weekend in Novgorod (RUS) Frenchman Baptiste Noel has moved up to third place.
Also in the ladies’ junior category, a Russian skier is heading the rankings. Anastasia Bushueva is leading in front of Kira Claudi (GER) and Maria Kondratenko (RUS).
On the men’s side, Mikhail Matrentsev of Russia is placed first in the junior rankings. Emanuele Becchis of Italy is currently second with Russia’s Evgeniy Duk placing third.
After a short break, the FIS Roller Ski World Cup continues in La Bresse (FRA) on the last weekend of August. In the first week of September, the sport will see its season highlight with the FIS Roller Skiing World Ski Championships taking place in Bad Peterstal (GER). After a stop in Pontarlier (FRA), the World Cup will conclude in Toblach/Dobbiace (ITA) from 20th-22nd September.