Ricker ready to take them all on
A sprinkle of cold snow helps Canada’s leader in snowboard cross racing give her all in the extreme winter sport
As a regular feature, StarPhoenix sports reporter Cory Wolfe gets personal with a sports figure. Today, Canadian snowboard cross racer Maelle Ricker of Squamish gets cornered. Ricker leads the women’s World Cup standings, having won three of her five starts this season, and is a favourite to win Olympic gold.
Canwest: You once said that finishing fourth at the 2006 Olympics was like seeing the love of your life on the subway but never getting to meet them. Fortunately for you, that subway car has rolled back into view. Nervous?
Ricker: ( Laughs) I’m excited, actually. When we were driving down ( Wednesday) I was getting really excited on the bus with everybody, seeing the different Olympic venues. We went by the figure skating venue as we came in through Vancouver. I’m ready to go. We’ve been training and everything feels good. I just want to get up on that course and have some fun.
Canwest: If the snowboarding gods cornered you and said, ‘ We’ll guarantee that you’ll win Olympic gold if you agree to have three years shaved off the end of your life’ would you accept their deal?
Ricker: I think I would. ( Laughs) In my family, we’re a stubborn bunch and historically, they’ve lived for a very long time, so I wouldnt mind shaving a few years for having fun right now.
Canwest: What’s one of your essential pre-race rituals?
Ricker: I always put a chunk of snow on the back of my neck in the start gate. It gives me a little zap and it’s something I’ve always done.
Canwest: Racing down an icy mountain obviously doesn’t scare you. What does?
Ricker: I’ve never been a fan of snakes. I was backpacking in Costa Rica and I almost stepped on a really poisonous one. I was like 18, and that definitely got my heart going.
Canwest: Complete the following sentence. I, Maelle Ricker, could use a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to ...
Ricker: Anything electronic. I’m just not so good at it. I get that from my dad.
Canwest: would you Which hide if item you knew in your some home really cool Ricker: people I definitely were coming like some over? DVDs and some TV to series see. that I wouldn’t want everybody
Canwest: Confess one.
Ricker: I can’t tell you that! Thats confidential.
Canwest: OK, what’s the most awestruck you’ve been in the presence of a celebrity?
Ricker: I’m a huge fan of ( speed skater) Clara Hughes and I got to meet her in Torino the night after she won the 5,000 metres. I was definitely awestruck.
Canwest: Suppose you had a time machine. Name a time before you were born that you’d like to visit.
Ricker: I’d like to go back to the Egyptian era for sure. Learning about their culture in high school and through courses, it seems like a pretty interesting time.
Canwest: Which lesser-known Vancouver hangout would you recommend to a tourist?
Ricker: I really, really love Asian cuisine, so there’s lots of good restaurants. In particular, there’s a Thai restaurant in West Van that’s really good: Thai Pudpong. It’s nice and small and has awesome food.
Canwest: And finally, name your bronze, silver and gold medallists of underrated pleasures.
Ricker: Sleep is a pretty high commodity. That could be in there. And powder. I definitely could use a little more powder. And getting kids involved in sport and getting everybody out there, that’s pretty huge. That would be the gold ... getting people outside.
Maelle Ricker would trade three years of her life for a gold medal this month. | Jenelle Schneider/ Vancouver Sun files