An interview by Saskia von Hoeven of the Netherlands

Jonathan Guilmette (27) and his Canadian relay team took Salt Lake City’s Olympic gold medal in short track speed skating.  He also was Vice-champion in the 500 m.

In February of  [this] year Jonathan will travel to Turin for his next Olympic Games.  In September 2005 he qualified himself for Canada’s Olympic team, and during this seasons final World Cups in Bormio (ITA) and The Hague (NED) his relay team definitively qualified for Turin.  They are, of course, going for GOLD.

Interviewing a sportsperson like Jonathan is not something that happens every day.  Therefore, I am happy that I could, and I would like to thank Jonathan a lot for this great interview!

Interview with Jonathan Guilmette

Is this your first time in Holland?

Jonathan:  No, this is already my 6th time in the Netherlands.  The first time was in ’96, in Leeuwarden.  I have also been in Heerenveen, Zoetermeer and Amsterdam.  In 2002 [was here] in The Hague.

That is definitely more often than I expected!  Have you seen anything else but the ice tracks?

Jonathan:  Only very little.  The only thing I’ve seen in Holland is a little bit of Amsterdam, and I’ve been somewhere very near Germany where our driver took us once.  [Other than that], it’s only ice tracks and airports.

How do you like the way the competition is set up and organized here?

Jonathan:  The competition is organized very well, most things are going right, only the ice is really bad.  We've not had ice this bad since 2 years [ago] or so.  We’re training in Montréal, where the ice is always very good as well, so this is really unusual.

Do you ever miss home on long foreign trips like this one?

Jonathan:  I do miss home a lot right now.  Since September, I’ve only been home for 3 weeks.  First we were in Asia for 3 weeks for the World Cups, then I was home for 3 weeks and now we’re in Europe again, where this is the 3rd week too.  After awhile you really miss your friends and family.  And because of traveling and jet-lag and so[forth] you get very tired.  I usually don’t get really homesick, but now I do feel like going home.

What is it that keeps motivating you to go on with short track, even if things don’t always work out the way you wanted?

Jonathan:  You mean why I am still skating?  It’s just the fun I have in it, the fun of skating, competing, racing.  Short track stays challenging, even if you belong to the best, because then you have to try and stay with the best.  Every year there are people who go, and new people to race against.  Meeting new people is fun, as well as just traveling the world. I  never truly felt like quitting short track, otherwise I probably would have immediately.

Do you have some funny story of something that happened during your short track career?

Jonathan:  Let me think… Oh yes, the time when I was in Russia for a competition.  Something went wrong at the airport and I didn’t get my luggage for five days.  I had to borrow clothes from my teammate’s substitute blades. But that also makes short track so fun; you never know what [will] happen on these foreign trips you make.

Who would you like to be for a day if you could?

Jonathan:  Difficult question! I don’t know… I don’t think I would want to be someone famous.  It wouldn’t be nice because it wouldn’t be my life with all the nice things, like short track.

Do you have any tips for younger short track skaters, who are now trying to achieve what you already did?

Jonathan:  There’s not really a big secret to short track.  Just keep training hard, and be lucky to have a good coach.  Keep listening to you coach.  I was lucky to have great coaches over the years.

Jonathan, I wish you all the best, and good luck for your upcoming Olympic Games!