Right off the bat it was something different. Finding University of Calgary student Kim Weger on the track of the Olympic Oval was easy enough, but talking to her proved to be a little more difficult.
"Just to warn you, Kim is a very special girl and should be treated as such," said teammate Jason Parker (or possibly another guy named Jeremy) with a grin on his face. "You better be nice to her."
"Shut up," responded the slightly embarrassed Weger.
This was the start of a wild ride into the exciting world of speed skating.
For Weger, this ride started when she was only six-years old growing up in Saskatchewan.
"I played ringette when I was six," she said, reminiscing about those days in the most exciting of provinces. "Then my parents made me quit ringette and I started skating."
Her skating brought her to Calgary and the Olympic Oval--the best training facility in Western Canada. Based here, Weger travels all over Europe, but she has returned to Calgary for the final World Cup event of the season which will be held right here in the Oval March 2-4. The 20-year-old is quite enthusiastic about getting a chance to skate on home ice.
"I've been skating better here," she admitted. "I'd like to get a personal best. A good placing will come with that."
After the event it'll be back to schoolwork for Weger. She took the winter semester off because as she put it, "with the traveling it would be too much." She hopes to catch up in the spring and summer before she focuses on making the Olympic team for the Salt Lake City Games of 2002. At the Oval, Weger has rubbed shoulders with some of the greats of Canadian skating and hopes a little of the magic has transferred over to her.
"It's nice to get with skate with them," reflected Weger. "To get to skate behind Catriona (LeMay Doan) and Susan (Auch)--you learn a lot."
When asked who her heroes were, she wasn't as forthcoming.
"Jason (Parker) has been quite the inspiration..." she smiled at the teammate seated by her side.
With a little luck and a lot of training, perhaps Weger will became someone's hero after the World Cup in Calgary, and maybe even after the Olympics.