On Sunday, Maëlle Ricker and Dominique Maltais will look to bolster Team Canada’s medal count by beating the field in snowboard cross at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
The boarder cross duo can think about the Olympic podium with clarity because for them it’s not a dream, they’ve already been there and have the hunger to return.
Ricker, the returning Olympic champion, says any pressure she feels to repeat her Vancouver feat is internal in order to make the most out of her time in Sochi.
“It’s a different type of pressure,” Ricker said. “I don’t know if it’s more or less, but it’s something I put on myself and I’m using it as excitement and it’s definitely fuelling me to step it up to push myself. A good pressure.”
Ricker recently had wrist surgery and the team trained away from Russia, missing the Opening Ceremony before arriving midway through the first week of the Games.
The Turin 2006 bronze medallist, Maltais, is the current world leader in this discipline and finished on the podium at every World Cup event this season. She has won three consecutive Crystal Globes as the overall World Cup champion.
She sustained a knee injury recently that had her “panicking,” she admitted to The Canadian Press. ”I had two or three treatments a day and I was gradually able to start training again.”
“I feel my place is here on the Canada team.” Maltais said when asked about her first impressions of Sochi. “I smile all the time.”
She may have more reasons to smile come Sunday’s final, though much of the field will view her as the woman to beat, including her teammate Ricker.
“We’re all looking at her, she’s right beside me, my teammate Dominique. She’s really been pushing me.”
Canada will hope the pair can push Canada’s medal count up by two on Sunday.