VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Four years ago,
If you were blissfully unaware that Canada, host of two previous Games, has never won an Olympic gold medal on home soil, well, now you know. This bit of Canadian Olympic trivia should be resolved sometime after 8 p.m. PT on Saturday, barring an upset win in the men's downhill at Whistler in the morning (weather permitting) or a shocker in the women's moguls on Cypress Mountain on Vancouver's North Shore.
Heil finished first in the last four World Cup moguls events she entered. Her recent training has been exceptional. As her coach,
Heil should be pushed by a group of Americans, notably
Heil has rebuilt her body since winning the gold in Turin, fine-tuning her biomechanics and, as her athletic therapist
Mercifully, Heil's knees have been the only things that seem to get irritated. She has handled the inevitable question about becoming the first home Canadian gold medalist with extraordinary grace. She was raised in Alberta, moved to Montreal to attend McGill and disarms in English and French. She has a six-time zone smile that might be the most recognizable in the country, which means either it truly is exceptional or that hockey players simply don't smile enough.
"Jenn's feeling the energy with the Olympics in Canada," says Gauthier, who also is her boyfriend. "She wants to win a medal and share it with the whole country."