'I get goosebumps still': Maelle Ricker reflects on Vancouver 2010 Games
VANCOUVER -- It's been 10 years since snowboarder Maelle Ricker became the first Canadian woman to win Olympic gold on home soil – and memories of the 2010 Games still bring back powerful emotions.
"Oh, I get goosebumps still," Ricker told CTV News on Monday. "I mean, what an amazing time for Canada."
But there were some lows along with the highs. The North Vancouver native – who missed the podium during the previous Winter Olympics in Turin – fell during her first qualifying run, and the pressure to prove herself during the second led to what the Olympian describes as "probably the most nerve-wracking moment I've ever had in my 20-plus years of racing."
"Luckily, I got in there and stayed on my feet," she said. "Once I got into the finals, I was back to my usual pace."
That pace gave Ricker an early lead in the finals that she managed to maintain all the way to the finish line, securing her place in Olympic history.
Afterward, Ricker said there was barely a moment for the reality of her win to sink in. The day of the race was a "big blur," and before she knew it, the Games were over.
During the Olympics, she found herself constantly approached by fellow Canadians proudly celebrating her performance – but that came to a surprisingly abrupt end.
"After the Closing Ceremonies I went and walked in downtown Vancouver and nobody recognized me," she said with a laugh. "It was really funny – It was like being mobbed one week and then a couple weeks later it was back to regular life."
These days, Ricker calls Pemberton home. She's currently one of two head coaches on Team Canada's snowboard cross team, which keeps her on the road a lot. Her husband Erik – who she describes as "superdad" – stays at home with their toddler, Tosca, who is almost two years old.
As a coach, Ricker is hoping to help the next generation of Canadian athletes experience the same success she's had – and take home the same kind of lifelong memories.
"It was just a big whirlwind," she said. "It seems like yesterday, but it was also 10 years ago."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Jason Pires