With three Olympic medals in hand, Susan Auch spoke to about two dozen girls about the sport of speed skating and dreaming big.
The Transcona skater wanted to inspire the girls at the Strong Girls on Ice event Sunday afternoon.
“You can be strong and be proud of it,” she said. “From my childhood I always felt a little self-conscious being super strong and standing out and being the best at something.”
Auch held her two silver medals – from the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics – and her bronze from 1988. She even let the girls hold and touch them.
“I like to look up to people in sports because I like to do lots of different sports,” eight-year-old Anya Carvers said. “I think I want to be an Olympic synchro swimmer.”
The two dozen or so girls aged five to 17 also laced up, some for the first time, on speed skates at the Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex.
Event organizer Allison Gervais said it’s important to empower young girls with role models.
“It’s amazing for young girls like that to see an Olympian and to see the Olympic medals is amazing. I know myself being a former athlete if someone had come like that and visited me and talked to me like that, it would’ve been so cool,” she said.
Auch said events like this are an opportunity to empower girls.
“Traditionally there’s been more boys who will stick their necks out and try something new,” she said. “But I think we’re raising the bar for girls too.”