August 25/04 6:26 am - Olympics: Post Race Interview with Lori-Ann Muenzer
Posted by Editoress on 08/25/04
It is less than 24 hours after Lori-Ann Muenzer won Canada's first Olympic cycling gold medal, and it has not settled down. Lori-Ann got to bed at 5:00 am, and is up again and on her way to more interviews (starting with Canada AM). We spoke with Lori-Ann for a few minutes this morning.
Canadian Cyclist - It's been 18 hours since you won the gold medal, what are your thoughts now?
Lori-Ann Muenzer - It is still the same - wow. It has just been a daze, a blur since it happened.
CC - Before the races we talked about your upcoming race against Anna Meares, and how you thought it would be the toughest.
LAM - Obviously, I've ridden against her before, and she beat me last time. I knew that I had to go into it super aggressive; I had to be smarter and faster. I let her set the pace in the first ride (which Meares won). After that I had to regroup, think it through - I knew I had just one more shot to make to the gold medal round. In the next two races I just put the hammer down. From the front, from the back, I took the bull by the horns and stomped her.
CC - For the final I don't think you were as worried?
LAM - Tamilla (Abassova) is not a tactician; if you notice all the Russians are not very tactical. I knew she would try to run it like a Kierin, and just pour on more speed, more speed, but I was powerful enough to deal with that.
CC - In the second race you knew you had it, didn't you?
LAM - Coming into the last turn I knew I had it. When I saw it on replay, I could see the smile on my face, and I backed off a bit, but it (the gold) was mine.
CC - So back to Canada tomorrow (Thursday) and into work the morning after?
LAM - Yes, I have to be at work Friday morning, I have to go in - they are all my extended family.
CC - Can we tell people when you arrive, because some have been asking so that they can greet you.
LAM - Sure, that would be great! I arrive (in Edmonton) on Air Canada from Calgary at 22:52.
CC - So, what's next?
LAM - Well, first I have to talk with Steen (Madsen, Lori-Ann's coach), show him my medal. I was supposed to take a holiday, but it has gotten so crazy that I'm not sure if that is even going to happen, or when! There are so many things coming up so quickly, that I'm not sure what's happening. When I checked my e-mail before going to the track yesterday there were 183 messages. When I looked between interviews last night it was up to 483!
Editor's Note: this would be a REALLY good time for some Canadian corporation to offer Lori-Ann a holiday...
We also spoke last night with national track coach Eric van den Eynde about Lori-Ann's win.
On whether he expected this result: "Sometimes you don't dare to dream, and then it happens. We just took it one step at a time, day by day."
On Lori-Ann's progression to this level: "At the World Cup in Sydney I saw a difference in her confidence. I got her to write about how she can beat (the other riders), and read it, to build her confidence.
When Martin Barras (Australian coach) saw her in Sydney, he said to me that all the film he had on her for the past two years is no good, it is all changed. Then, when we were at the world championships he (Martin) said it has changed more since Sydney.
Before, Lori-Ann had a problem with distance, so her personal coach (Steen Madsen) did the job, he gave her what she needed. I noticed that she was fresher than Anna in the second ride. I am here to give her what she needs at the track (ie, at competitions), but he is the one who works with her all the time, he is the trainer. She is a Canadian, trained in Canada by a Canadian trainer.
This time I noticed it was different with her. I said to her, 'for gold we may have to touch the ground (crash)', and she said ' I'm ready '. She has learned to trust herself."
About Lori-Ann's pre-race rituals: "She is a person who has many things she likes to do before a race. It is not for me to tell her it does not mean anything. She (bumped fists) with (Canadian team manager) Sean O'Donnell and was winning, so then she had to do that. He had to wait before the start of the race so she could do that. One time he had to go to the washroom, and Lori-Ann was saying 'where is he?' I told her that he would be back in time... Then starting today (Tuesday), she decided she had to touch my head (on the start line, she rubbed Eric's head as he held her for the start), so luckily I have no hair!"
On the tire problems they had, and how other teams helped out: "On the first day, the front wheel blew, with these special tires Lori-Ann had brought. I went to the French and got a brand new wheel to use, and then they put a new $240 US tire on our wheel for us with no charge. Then the back wheel blew and I didn't even have to ask before the Australians were bringing us a wheel. So on the front she raced with our wheel and a French tire, and on the back with an Australian wheel and tire. That is what is different about track, we are all close.
The Canadian team is always professional, and we get a lot of respect. We work hard without a lot of tools, and everyone can see that and hopes to see us do well."