No Olympic hangover for Botterrill

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:43 PM ET

She may have been one of six Manitoban Olympians celebrating in a sports lounge but there was no cigar or beer in her hand.

Winnipeg’s Jennifer Botterill was quick to point out that picture of her Team Canada teammates celebrating winning Olympic gold on Vancouver ice with a brew and a stogie do not characterize what that hockey squad is all about.

“That is not a reflection of what our team is like or any of those habits is the furthest thing from what our team is about,” Botterill said after those Olympians were honoured at the McPhillips Street Station Casino on Tuesday.

“It was just a tough year of training and people were just celebrating a hard year of training.

“The response (to the pictures) was actually really supportive. Our team takes great pride in being good role models and visiting schools and encouraging young kids to get involved in sports. I just feel like we worked hard to have a good image and I sure hope people realize that.”

Botterill won her third gold medal in four trips to the Olympics.

“This was so much better just being in Vancouver,” said Botterill, who also won a silver. “Every (gold) was special but just because of the excitement that people showed, it was on a whole different level.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work but, at the same time, it’s something that I love doing and it’s been an honour for me to be a part of that program and certainly, striding towards Vancouver was very demanding. We pushed our limits more than we ever had. But again, it’s the gold and it was perhaps higher or more exciting than any one (gold) that we had ever strided for before. So, it was an exciting year for us.”

Botterill has been revelling in that golden glow ever since she left Vancouver.

“It took a while for it to sort of sink in,” she said. “When we’re there and we’re playing, we’re so focused. Now, that we’ve taken a bit of time to reflect and just realize how many people in this country shared the experience with us. Everyone has a story about how they were watching the gold medal game and cheering us on, and for us, that’s pretty special and that’s been nice.”

Botterill, who turns 31 this year, intends to keep playing.

“That’s my plan right now,” said the 5-foot-9 forward who has been toiling for the national team for 13 years.

“I still love it … I plan on playing hockey this next season and taking it a year at a time. The Olympics have been a huge part of my life and I’m still really enjoying it.”


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