Wickenheiser has made quite a name for herself in
her chosen profession.
At the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Wickenheiser
served as captain of the Canadian women’s hockey team.
“Being in Canada with all the other athletes made it
a very unique experience,” she said.
The team’s gold medal win in Vancouver
made Canadians very proud, and earned Wickenheiser her third Olympic gold medal.
As a woman in her profession, Wickenheiser said she
faced challenges along the way to that latest medal.
“For sure, at times it’s been hard. People have
double standards,” she said.
But Wickenheiser was able to overcome those
challenges and become very successful in her sport. Many even consider her to be
the best female hockey player of all time.
“I guess people might say that,” she said. “I think
that time will tell.”
Wickenheiser said she was inspired to play hockey by
the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s, especially
star players like Mark Napier and Wayne Gretzky. But her biggest inspirations
are her parents, she said.
“My mom and dad gave me the early opportunities,”
Wickenheiser, who is a mother with a 10-year-old
son, has advice for aspiring athletes.
“It’s important to find something that you love to
do,” she said. “You have to commit. Learn from the best athletes by watching
them. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and practice makes perfect.”
Unlike many other athletes, Wickenheiser did not
start training immediately after the Olympics.
“I am taking time off, enjoying everything,” she
Her next big competition is the 2011 International
Ice Hockey Federation World Women's Championship. She said she’ll start training
soon, but is not sure which team she will be playing for.
As for other Olympics, she said she’s hoping to
compete one more time.
“When the time comes, we’ll see,” she said.
One thing is certain. Just
like most Canadians, Wickenheiser is passionate about hockey. That passion is
something that could never be replaced – even by a medical degree.
“It’s what I love to do,” Wickenheiser said. “I felt
the most comfortable on the ice my entire life.”
Also see Youth Journalism International's
interview with Melody
Davidson, coach of the gold-medal winning team.