In this episode, Maura interviews Michael Gilday, a Canadian short track speed skater. She asks about what it’s like to prepare for the Olympics, and they also talk about Michael’s hometown of Yellowknife in the north of Canada and his experiences learning French. Have you ever seen the aurora borealis? Would you like to find out how learning French helped Michael in speed skating? Listen to this episode to hear all about it.
Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:
- To strike up a conversation
- To compete head to head
- To never turn back
- A lick of
- A perk
- Canadian stereotypes
- The aurora borealis (the northern lights)
- To screw up
- To broaden your horizons
- To happen overnight
- To not take any prisoners
- Across the board
Maura: Today’s episode is a Chatterbox episode. And that’s where we chat about all kinds of different topics, including interviewing people and that is what we’re going to do today. Today I’m gonna be interviewing Michael Gilday, and he is a member of the Canadian National Short Track Speed Skating Team. And he is currently training to be on the Olympic team to go to the Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. So, first I’m going to tell you about how we met, because it was just a few weeks ago that Michael and I were taking the train from Montreal to Toronto. I was on my way to take a vacation with my sisters and you were going to visit some family.
Michael: Yeah. I was on the way to visit my cousins and my grandparents who live in Toronto.
Maura: And as many of you know, I’m sure, who take the train or the plane or the bus somewhere, sometimes when you’re travelling you end up striking up a conversation with the people beside you and sometimes you chat for a while and really get to know the other person.
Michael: Yeah, I know. I felt like this was one of the more interesting train rides I’ve had in my life, I guess, and it was really nice to get to know Maura and learn about her and Culips. And she invited me to come on the show, so I’m happy to be here.
Maura: Good. So, first we’ll talk about how you ended up in Montreal. You told me that you’ve been here for about a year, so what brought you to Montreal?
Michael: Well, I am a short track speed skater. And for those of you who might not know what short track speed skating is, it is a winter sport where athletes— sometimes four, or up to eight athletes—compete head to head around a 111 metre track, which is on a hockey rink or an ice hockey rink. And, yeah, so I’m a member of the Canadian National Short Track Speed Skating Team, and we are based out of Montreal so I live and train here and I’m working my way towards competing at the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.
Maura: That sounds pretty exciting. Is it? Is it exciting training to be in the Olympics one day?
Michael: I think it is, otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen to do it, but it’s a challenge. It’s something I enjoy doing. I get to live a healthy lifestyle where, you know, exercise is the main activity in my day. So I think it’s fun and it’s exciting.
Maura: So what does your schedule look like? How many hours of training do you usually do? How much time do you spend in the gym? All that kind of stuff.
Michael: Well, a normal week, we have anywhere between seven to ten ice sessions where we’re on the ice doing various types of laps. Sometimes we’re just going slow and working on our technique and our endurance, other times we’re working on specific race strategies or speed. Being on the ice is the main part of our training, but we also go in the gym and lift weights to complement our training, as well as some other off ice training, especially in the summer—biking, running, etc. And then also from time to time we have the fun activity of physiotherapy, which I’m currently going through, since I ended my season this year with a fractured shoulder. So it’s a full schedule. We train just over 11 months out of 12 in the year. And, yeah, so it’s a fulltime thing. Six days a week we train, Sundays we get off.
Maura: So I’m also wondering how you got into speed skating. Michael: Well, I started speed skating when I was four years old and my best friend at the time, well he’s still actually one of my best friends, and he was in it, and I thought I would like to go with him one day, so I went and I liked it. And I guess I’ve never really turned back. And he quit a long time ago, but I really enjoy what I do.
Podcast/ Learning Materials: Culips English Podcast