At 20 years old, Sarah Vaillancourt is savoring every moment of her first Olympic games. Four years ago, she was still a hockey fan like so many others, glued to her television set to watch the final from Salt Lake City.
“For the final, we all got together, all my girls from my team, we all got together at my house to watch the game. I remember crying like a baby at the end of the game. I could see myself here.”
And now that Vaillancourt is here, she is sharing the experience with linemates who are also experiencing their first Olympic games. The trio made up of Vaillancourt, Gina Kingsbury and either Meghan Agosta or Katie Weatherston is already known as the ‘kid line’. But don’t be fooled, they will not be intimidated by the fact that these are the Olympic games.
“Furthermore, we are roommates so we are always together. We have so much fun; we are really young but we have a lot of confidence. We don’t lack confidence, so we are not really stressed. Things are going great up to now. We are having so much fun on the ice. I don’t know if you can see it, but we are always laughing. When we play less, that’s what we’re expecting, it’s normal, we encourage our teammates and we are behind them. No matter what happens, we’re ready.”
Four years ago, Vaillancourt was only 16, but she was already dreaming of the possibility of making it to the Olympic games. She climbed the ladder quicker than expected, joining the Under 22 team at the age of 18 and the senior team at 20.
“I always saw myself here. Maybe I didn’t know that it would be so fast, but from 2002 on, that’s when everything started coming together. I never imagined that it would be so fast, but I saw myself there.”
“The only time that I thought that it would come true was on December 21 when we learned who had made the team. Before that, it was really stressful. During the year, I was never sure of making the team. The centralization was really intense. Among the 27 players, we were really close talent wise.”
And don’t be fooled by her enthusiasm, once inside the arena, the young woman from Sherbrooke, Quebec, has only one goal in mind: to be her best.
“I really have no problem staying concentrated. Even if I have too much energy, sometimes, you may think that I have problems concentrating. But as soon as I start my off-ice warm-up, I’m on my game and I’m ready to go on the ice. Even if it’s true that there are many distractions, when we get to the rink, it’s as if nothing else existed. Even if there are large crowds in the stands, it’s as if there was no one on our side. Of course it’s impressive, but after the 20th (of February) we will still have a few days to enjoy it all.”
Vaillancourt comments on her first Olympic experience so far
“It’s such an incredible experience. Starting with the opening ceremonies, then our first game, my first goal… these were really special events and even more special is the fact that my parents are here to see me reach my ultimate goal. Everything has been perfect up to now…. We are playing really well; we are having so much fun. You can see that we have incredible team chemistry.”