Athlete Profile

Flag-bearer Catriona Le May Doan, 31, of Saskatoon has dominated the 500 metres in speedskating. Definitely one to watch on the podium, she won the World Cup event at Heerenveen, Netherlands in January. Le May Doan will also race in the 1,000 metres at Salt Lake. Since 1997, the 31-year-old Saskatoon native has been the world's fastest woman on two legs, holding the world record for the 500-metre sprint for nearly five years -- and improving it seven times. For a perspective on "how fast" is fast, consider this comparison: the impressively muscular Florence Griffith Joyner was declared by a track and field expert to be 50 years ahead of her time when she set the women's 100-metre sprint record at 10.49 seconds in 1988. Had she been able to keep up that frantic pace for 500 metres -- and track sprinters concede this extreme level of effort is not possible -- it would have been just under 52.5 seconds. Le May Doan's current world record for skating 500 metres is 37.22 seconds -- more than 15 seconds faster than that. Outwardly, I'm not competitive at all in the outside world. Inwardly, I'm my own worst enemy," Le May Doan told The Globe and Mail in an interview, when asked about motivation. If no one is challenging her records, she has to challenge herself. "I'm very driven. I've always been a perfectionist and I stay that way, even after the World Cup in Calgary [where the most recent world record was set in December]. "I'm hard on myself, because I've seen in practices what I'm capable of doing. You have to focus. In a sprint, there's no room for errors. If the gun goes, and I'm thinking of something else, there's no time to correct it." Le May Doan says Salt Lake will be her last Olympics. "I may skate just one year beyond it, for the world championships in Calgary. But we want to settle down and start a family, maybe somewhere near Drumheller," she said.