Don’t ever tell Canadian Short Track speed skater Marie-Eve Drolet something is impossible.
“They should stop telling me because I keep going until forever,” Drolet laughed.
That “impossible” word came up a few times when Drolet announced she was making a comeback to speed skating after giving birth to her first child, daughter Zoey, in January of last year.
“At the beginning, when she said, ‘I’m going to come back after,’ we were like, ‘hmm that’s going to be tough.’ But if someone can do it, that’s her,” women’s national team coach Frederic Blackburn said.
“A lot of people told me that it wasn’t possible. And you know, this thing is helping me, giving a ‘you think it’s not possible, well I think it is!’ Let’s do it. Give me that motivation,” Drolet said.
The short track specialist is no stranger to comebacks.
After making her Olympic debut in Salt Lake City in 2002, the then 20-year-old took a six-year hiatus from the sport before working her way back onto the national team and skating for her country in Sochi. She won her second career Olympic medal, a silver in the relay event.
“I came back after six years of doing nothing,” she said. “I think it gave me confidence to come back after a pregnancy.”
“She’s kind of like the mom of the team, because she’s been around for awhile,” her 21-year-old teammate Jamie MacDonald said.
“I look up to her, I think she’s an incredible skater and an incredible person. She’s a wonderful mother.”
Now, at the age of 34, Drolet is back on the national team and skating in her first World Cup at Olympic Oval in Calgary this weekend. And this time, Zoey will be watching and cheering her on.
“Every day I tell her the same, ‘Mommy is going skating’ and she goes ‘yes, fast, fast, fast fast’ and I’m like, ‘that’s right… fast, fast, fast fast.'”
A speed she intends to maintain right up to the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“It would be like a real closure after going to the Olympics,” she said. “I would be 36 and it would be a great thing to win again.”
Critics would only dare to tell her otherwise.
The ISU World Cup Short Track speed skating event features close to 200 of the top skaters in the world. The final medals will be handed out on Sunday.