Entrevue en français

In July 2002, I had the privilege of interviewing Jonathan, and in September of the same year, he granted a follow-up.  When I asked for the interview, I thought that if I got it I might find a self-important star - you know, what has all-too-commonly come to be known as ''The Famous Athlete''.  I was pleased to find a smart, humble and hilarious individual, one who loves short track ice speed skating and has worked his way to the top of his sport.  He talked about favorite characters from movies, Olympic experiences, hair-coloring, Japanese, the rules of short track, skin suits, and how he finds his inspiration in books.  Read on.  You'll soon be as impressed as I was.

The Force is strong with young Guilmette.

At only 17, he broke the 500m Short Track Junior World Record.  At 18, he made his first Canadian National Team, as well as the 1998 Olympic Team.  At 20, he was Canadian National Champion.  As the end of that season approached, he suffered a major career setback when he hit the wall at full speed - feet first - in a training session accident that left him with his left femur broken completely in two.  But the injury couldn't break his spirit.  In less than 2 years, at 21 years of age,  not only had he fully recovered, but he came back to become Canadian National Champion AGAIN!  And at 23, despite a back injury, he made the Olympic Team for a second time and won the individual 500m silver medal and the 5000m team relay gold.  At 24, he was part of the #1 ranked team in the world, and not yet have I made mention of his plethora of gold, silver and bronze World Cup & World Championship medals.  If The Force is strong with anyone, it definitely is with him.

To begin the interview, I asked Jonathan to tell us about himself in his own words.

Getty Images / Mike Powell
Perfect Arm Swing Eyes ph2.jpg
Skating toward a 500m semi-final victory in the 19th Winter Olympics





Full Name:  Jonathan Guilmette

Age:  23 ( at time of interview)

Date of Birth:  18/08/78

Height:  5'11''

Weight:  165 Pounds

Eye/Hair Color:   Blue Eyes / Blond Hair


Food(s):    Asian Food (Sushi and Thailand Foods)

Color:        Silver

Movie(s):   Star Wars  (All of them)

Hobbies:    Reading, Video Games, Movies, Shopping, Cooking

Book(s):     The Masks Of God & Hero with a Thousand Faces from Joseph Campbell

JG.com:  The Masks of God?  Of the 4 in the series, do you have a favorite?  Primitive, Oriental, Occidental or Creative Mythology?

Jonathan:  I really liked Oriental, because it's a mythology that I was not aware of as much as the Occidental.


JG.com:  Do you do anything interesting and/or original to yourself, like color your hair, have piercings, tattoos and the like?  If so, what and where?


Jonathan:  I color my hair a bit.  Some bleach at some places all around my head.  But not bleach on all my hair.


JG.com:  Do you speak French?  Any other languages?


Jonathan:  Yes I speak French, it is my first language.  I speak English, and I am trying to learn Japanese.


JG.com:  What made you decide to learn Japanese?  Have you ever had a chance to visit Japan, besides going for skating competitions?


Jonathan:  I've been 8 times to Japan.  I really like the country.  In my future job, it's going to be helpful, I think, because they're doing a lot of business with Japan.


JG.com:  Future job?  What are your plans for your career after speed skating?


Jonathan:  I would like to do some studies in Computer Animation and in Video Games conception.

JG.com:   It says on the ISU website that your nickname is Jo.  How did you get this name, and who calls you that?  Do you go by Jonathan or Jo with most people (and, is it pronounced like ''Joe'' in the U.S.)?

Jonathan:  It's pronounced the same as Joe in the USA.  Some people call me Jonathan and some call me Jo!!

JG.com:  What do you think that you personally have brought to Short Track ... both the sport in general as well as Team Canada?

Jonathan:  Pretty much all the team from Canada are skating in Montréal.  I think I brought to Team Canada the desire to train always harder but always have fun doing it.  I think I helped my team to always push themselves stronger at training.




JG.com:  Who do you look up to?  Who are your role models, and why?
Jonathan:  It may be stupid, but I learned a lot of things from reading and from movies.  Like from Joseph Campbell and from the movies Star Wars.  I really like some things said in Star Wars from Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back: ''Try not.  Do or do not, there is no try.''  Or from Episode 1 from another character   ''Do what you think you cannot do.''  I learned a lot from the book and the movie Jonathan Livingston Seagull from Richard Bach.  This book and the movie is why my parents gave me this name.




JG.com:  Tell us about your history in skating - when you started, and how you got into it. 

Jonathan:  I started skating when I was 5 years old, so in 1984, when I watched the Sarajevo Olympics.  And there was a speed skating club at the rink next to my house.

JG.comWhat do you like about speed skating?

Jonathan:  I like Short Track because you need endurance, speed, and a good brain for the strategies.

JG.com:  Do some of the other members of your family skate?

Jonathan:  No.

JG.com:  And what about training?  In the off-season, do you train on in-line skates or do you prefer to ride a bike (mountain or road)?

Jonathan:  I ride a bike, on the road.

JG.com:  How many days a week do you train, and how often do you skate?

Jonathan:  6 days a week, training twice a day.  Sometimes 2 times on the ice a day.

JG.com:  Are you training right now?  Skating?  Taking time off?

Jonathan:  I am training since June this summer off-ice, and I started in late July on the ice!  Right now I am skating 6 days a week.

JG.com:  What is your favorite part of training?

Jonathan:  I like all parts.

JG.com:  And your least favorite?

Jonathan:  I have none

JG.com:  I understand that you fractured your left femur 10 days before leaving for the 1999 World Championships.  Tell us about that, and how it affected your skating.

Jonathan:  In fact, it was 3 days before leaving.  It was a very hard experience, but I am not sorry that it happened.  It changed me a lot, mostly as a person.  I think I am a better person now.  It made me grown up a lot.  I had a lot of free time then.  I was unable to walk for a month, so I had a lot of time to read.

G-Force? Or The Force? ... page 2