February 26, 2006
Scolded skater finds podium
ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

TURIN, Italy -- One week after his coach publicly lambasted him for skating poorly in the 1,000-metre event, Francois-Louis Tremblay stood on the podium to accept Olympic silver.

Twice.

Presented first with his prize for finishing second in the 500, he demonstrated more of his speed by handing the medal over to a team attache before joining his four teammates who helped him claim the 5,000 relay silver.

"I didn't want to wear two on the podium," explained the 25-year-old Alma, Que., native when asked where he stashed the first medal. "It would have been a bit of a show-off."

Had the Boucherville Bomber chosen to showboat, no one would have criticized him considering how rocky his road to these Games has been. Left off the national team for two years as his performance started to slip, Tremblay almost gave up skating.

"I had to think about what I wanted in life," said Tremblay, a key part of the winning 5,000 relay in Salt Lake City.

"I decided to come back to have some fun instead of being stressed all the time. I didn't want my life to depend on results."

He seemed to be having fun yesterday.

"I can only be happy -- you never know what to expect when you wake up in the morning and you think, 'Maybe I'm going to be a winner tonight,'" he said.

"I'm really proud of myself. It proves I'm strong. I came back stronger than I thought."

His comeback stems from bowing out of the 1,000 quarter-finals, drawing the ire of coach Guy Thibault.

"He was really rough with me but he didn't say anything wrong," said Tremblay. "He was right. I didn't skate as I was supposed to."

Last night he did, chasing Apolo Anton Ohno throughout the race after the American had what many believe was a false start.

"I think he did," shrugged Tremblay, insisting the infraction doesn't bother him.

"I could have passed him if he made a mistake but he skated such a great race. I'm not going to complain about anything today."

Teammate Eric Bedard finished fourth in the race, .004 behind third-place finisher Hyun-Soo Ahn of Korea.







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