February 18, 2006
Heil ready to go home
TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

TURIN -- Canada's only golden girl at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games has left the building.

Jenn Heil checked out of the Bardonecchia athletes village at 2 p.m. yesterday and is heading home to Spruce Grove.

"I'm exhausted. I really want to get home,'' said Heil, who won a gold medal in freestyle skiing on the first day of the 2006 Games. "I've decided I want to come home and share this moment now, while it's still in the moment,''

All the freestylers have to be out of Turin by the middle of next week.

"I've decided to spend some down time away from everything in Frankfurt, then fly for a day to Montreal and visit my friends there,'' the McGill University student said.

She will also make media stops in Toronto and Edmonton before going home to Spruce Grove, 20 km west of the City of Champions.

"If I don't go home now, I won't be home until the end of April. So much of this will have worn off by then. I want to share this while it's still all so exciting," Heil said.

"I originally wanted to stay and do the closing ceremony. But our federation wants us to have a normal schedule when we get back to the World Cup tour in Asia. I've come to see their reasoning.

"When I won the medal, I really wanted to stay and share it with the Canadian athletes here and I've done that all week. I've been to figure skating and a hockey game in Turin and several events in the mountains. I've been to the athletes village in Turin and the ones up here. I've really enjoyed myself.

"It would have been awesome to be in a closing ceremony. But it's all kind of crashed on me now."

Heil said the week has been a blur and she is very tired.

"I didn't really expect to feel this way,'' she said of coming down from her incredible high. "I didn't realize how much stress I was under. My stomach has been in knots for two months.My body is just ready to let go. It's time to get home to friends and family.''