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21 Nov 2014
IOC News

Beckie Scott: “An atmosphere of friendship and universal camaraderie”

Canada’s Beckie Scott was the first North American female cross-country skier to step on to the Olympic podium, winning a gold medal in Salt Lake City in 2002 and a silver medal in Turin in 2006. She talks about her feelings in this new episode of our Words of Olympians video series.

Before being elected for eight years by her peers to the IOC Athletes’ Commission in
2006 in Turin, becoming a member of the Administration Board of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games Organising Committee (VANOC), then Chef de Mission of the Canadian team for the Innsbruck Youth Olympic Games in 2012, Beckie Scott was best female Canadian cross-country skier and the first North American to win an Olympic title in her sport. On 15 February 2002, at the Soldier Hollow venue at the Salt Lake City Games, she finished third in the 5km + 5km combined pursuit behind Russians Olga Danilova and Larissa Lazutina, who were later both disqualified for doping. Beckie thus received her gold medal at a moving ceremony, celebrated by hundreds of people in Vancouver in June 2004.

Recalling her step up to the third level of the podium in the mountains of Utah, Beckie said: “The best moment of all for me was after winning a medal in Salt Lake City, sharing that with my teammates and my friends and family who had come to watch. I think the moment of just being all together in that celebration was the most enjoyable and memorable. It’s a kind of hard feeling to describe, because it’s a very emotional moment, but it’s also a little bit magical. Because it’s a time you’ve been looking, and reaching and driving for, for so long… and to realise it is just amazing.”

Coached on the cross-country trails by a devoted father, Beckie Scott started competing at the age of 7, was a brilliant junior, then a serious contender at the World Cup, and won 17 medals in the sprint, pursuit and relay between 2001 and 2006 - the year she retired from competition - but also another Olympic medal. Indeed, she took silver in the team sprint at the Turin Games with Sara Renner.

A three-time Olympian, Beckie Scott recalls above all: “the atmosphere of friendship and universal camaraderie – it’s so many people from so many places all over the world, coming together to par-ticipate in a sporting  competition. And yes, it’s high level, and it’s very competitive; but there’s also this element of universal friendship; and it’s just such an enjoyable and joyful place to be!”

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