Canadian speedkater decorated Isabelle Weidemann resetting her post-Olympic goals in Beijing

Isabelle Weidemann is proud of her Olympic medal status.

“Bloody dented,” said the Canadian speedkater gleefully.

Winner of a full set of gold, silver and bronze medals in Beijing in February, the 27-year-old from Ottawa pushes her hardware handling in public.

“I remember first, maybe 10 years ago, seeing Chandra Crawford’s Olympic gold medal. He’s a cross-country skier. It was destroyed,” Weidemann told The Canadian Press.

“I thought ‘how can you store your medals in those conditions?’ and now i see mine and i got it. When people want to hold them, and kids knock them over, I really don’t care. When I get old and retire from the sport I want them to be completely crushed because I think that’s the best part, being able to share them.”

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Click to play video: 'The journey of the speedkater Isabelle Weidemann in the Olympics'

Speedkater Isabelle Weidemann’s Olympic journey

Weidemann and his Canadian team-mates are playing at home in back-to-back World Cups starting Friday in Calgary. International racing concludes Sunday followed December 16-18 by another three-day World Cup at the Olympic Oval.

Weidemann, the Canadian flag bearer in the closing ceremonies of Beijing, joined forces with Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa and Valerie Maltais of La Baie, Que., to win the country’s first gold medal in the women’s team event.

Weidemann also captured silver in the grueling 5,000 meters and bronze in the 3,000 meters.

She is the third Canadian athlete to win more than two medals at a single Winter Olympics after speedkaters Cindy Klassen (2006) and Gaetan Boucher (1984).

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The start of the Olympics biennial is a time of transition for athletes, especially when they have achieved their Olympic dreams. Mindsets and goals changed, and doors opened wider for a life outside of sport.

“I feel a little different than I did in the last quad,” said Weidemann. “I come out of 2018 very excited for another four years and working hard until 2022 to prepare as best as I can to be there. It motivated me for four years.

“I came back this year and I knew that I had to have a different goal. I think I still have some unresolved things that I want to get out of the sport before I move on.”

He will complete his bachelor of science degree at the end of this month. He applied to medical school and if he is accepted, Weidemann will follow several Canadian athletes on that path.

His former teammate Denny Morrison and Olympic hockey player Claire Thompson both accepted into medical school this year.

Hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser and former Calgary Stampeder quarterback Andrew Buckley both graduated from med school.

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Being constantly tested on a daily basis outside of their athletic career is what the profession is all about, thought Weidemann.

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“It’s this powerful passion that really pulls us in that direction,” he says. “This drive and wanting to do something every day, I think we all really love it.”

On the ice, Weidemann was up for a gamble to see how fast he could get under the tutelage of his coach Remmelt Eldering.

Long distance is all about pacing. Pushing too hard too fast in the 5k risks “exploding” and slowing to a crawl in the final laps. Weidemann is ready to roll the dice in the post-Olympic season.

“I’ve been cruising at the same time consistently for the last four years, and I’ve been on the podium a lot, but I haven’t really gone any faster than that,” he says. “I’m very proud of the performance but I want to see if I can push for the next step.

“We have to be very conservative for four years, and really make sure that we get to that consistent time. Now I can take more risks. If it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world.”

Weidemann took bronze and 3k silver in the first two World Cups of the season in Stavanger, Norway and Heerenveen, Netherlands, respectively.

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Weidemann, Maltais and Blondin reunited to win the women’s team pursuit in Stavanger.

Speedskaters are constantly looking for a combination of power and fluidity in their stride.

Weidemann wants to hit the sweet spot in Calgary, where he and the rest of the national team are training.

“I got results in the fall, in the first two World Cups. I’m happy with how they went,” he said. “The feeling is not there. I struggled a bit to find flow on the ice. I would love that feeling here.”

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