February 19, 2010 Features & Images » Feature Story

Walking the talk 

Whistler athletes represent in Whistler style

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Page 10 of 13

As usual, Boyd is backing up his words with actions. And once again, his professional destiny is linked directly to Whistler Mountain's. "I've committed myself to the Canadian Ski Team until the Games," he explains. "I'm also working on my various coaching levels. After the Olympics, I'd love nothing more than to come home and get involved in some local programs ..."

But right now he's on a mission. Assigned to the highly-touted women's speed squad for the last four years, Boyd's job to is to make sure that his charges are razor-sharp for the new Olympic downhill course on Franz's run. "It's exciting for sure," he says. "Once again, there's a downhill course in my backyard that will play a huge role in my life over the next four years. I mean - this is the course that will ultimately decide who gets gold, silver or bronze in 2010. And my job is to get a Canadian wearing the gold."

Another deep chuckle. "Yeah - it's kind of funny to find myself back on the White Circus," he says. "Travel and missing the big days at Whistler still suck. But coaching is really rewarding. When I retired from racing, people kept asking me, 'When are you going to start coaching?' and I thought 'why would I do that?' But I've grown to really love it. Sure, it's tough at times. Particularly right now with a growing family. But my love of the sport - the knowledge that I have; the positive effect I can have on the athletes - makes this a very fulfilling profession for me."

Besides, he adds with that little-kid grin that has almost become his trademark, what's not to like about spending time outdoors, on your skis, working with great athletes at some of the most beautiful mountain resorts in the world?

 

Third times lucky

Sometimes you want something so badly that it just doesn't happen. Such has been the case with Squamish resident Maëlle Ricker. Arguably the most talented snowboarder of her generation - and one of the classiest competitors on the World Cup circuit - Ricker has yet to step onto an Olympic podium. She's already got certificates for her fourth and fifth place finishes. But that top tree designation continues to elude her. She swears this year will be different...

She attended her first Olympics in Japan as a bright-eyed 19-year-old with boundless potential as a competitor. "I took up snowboarding for the lifestyle," explains Ricker, who cut her racing teeth dodging gates on skis. "But I always dreamed of competing at the Games. For me, to suddenly have those two things come together - snowboarding and the Olympics - well, I felt like I'd won the lottery."

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