Kyle Shewfelt discusses playing hockey growing up. Heading into his gymnastics floor routine at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, he recalls how he planned for an amazing performance for a long time. He explains how much he enjoyed the floor discipline, being the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal in gymnastics, and his feelings afterwards.

Creator: Bruce Weir

© 2012, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. All Rights Reserved.


Transcript

I was a young hockey player in the beginning of my athletic career. My dad was actually a hockey player, he played for the Brandon Wheat Kings. So I think he wanted his little boys to be to be hockey guys. And I played it and I loved it and I was a great skater, but I just, I couldn’t score goals and for me it just didn’t click. It was kind of, it was a hassle to get up and go to hockey. He had to really pull me there.

For 16 years I planned to have my perfect performance in the Olympic final in 2004 and, and it happened, and I don’t know, sometimes I get chills right now thinking about it because I don’t know how it happened. It was just everything went into that moment. At 8:30 that night I knew I would be competing and it was taking deep breaths and each breath that I took was one second closer to that moment.

My favourite event was always floor. I, I absolutely loved it. Obvious, I liked it because it was my best but I also really loved the opportunity to be able to show some artistic expression and to be able to add some of your own personality and your own, your own charisma into the routine. I loved paying attention to the small details and I felt like floor was the one where those got noticed the most.

There was the biggest amount of pressure you could ever imagine. I mean a Canadian had never won a medal in the sport of gymnastics. I had won two Bronze medals at the World Championships before. I had an injury that year leading up and there was a lot of questions like, “Am I going to be able to do this?”

Biggest amount of pressure actually came from myself because I knew that I was capable of winning. I knew I was. And I think that’s the reason why I did end up doing so well there is because I did believe that I had a chance. And I mean there, there can be so much pressure around you and the expectation but I think athletes put the most on themselves.

It was the perfect routine in the perfect moment and literally everything in it was to the highest level of perfection that it could have been. And it’s funny because I planned it that way. For me it was a different experience than I, I hear a lot of athletes have. A lot of athletes say it was the most amazing thing of their life. But for me I actually didn’t feel like I was there. I didn’t feel like I was present and I didn’t know how to get myself present because it literally felt like I was immersed in this dream that I’d had for so long. Like it was that real. The dream that I had was that real that I had a hard time separating dream from reality. But it was the next day, or probably about four o’clock in the morning that night that it really occurred to me, like this is real. I won the Olympics.


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