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Athletes talk about hobbies, food and what they love about our city

Calgary-based olympians Anastasia Bucsis, James McNaughton, Kimberly McRae and Hayley Wickenheiser keep it light in a conversation with Calgary Journal reporter Deja Leonard. 

 

 

Name: Anastasia Bucsis Bucscis USE24 year-old Anastasia Bucsis, pictured second from the left, was born in Calgary and started speed skating at the age of four.  She made her Olympic debut at the 2010 Vancouver Games, competing in the 500 metre long track speed skating event.

Photo by Allison Drinnan

Event: Speed skating – Long track

What do you enjoy most about Calgary?
What I love most about Calgary is that we seem to have this unique and raw energy or outlook that says, "anything is possible." I think our city still carries a kind of "wild west" attitude that rewards hard work and grit. There isn't a stifling hierarchy here that you see in a lot of older cities; the sky is the limit, and if you have big dreams, the city of Calgary won't tell you that they're stupid.

What is your favourite summer sport?
My favourite sport is most definitely football. I love both playing and watching it – my family has always had season tickets to the Stampeders.

What unhealthy food do you crave most during training?
Pizza and sushi.

Name your most visited restaurant in the city. What do you order?
This is a tough one — I think it's a tie! If I'm in the mood for pizza, I'll definitely go to Cibo and order the wild boar bacon thin-crust. If I'm feeling sushi, I think the best restaurant in town is Towa on 4th Street. It's smaller, but the ambiance is amazing the rainbow roll is by far the best I've ever had (it also doesn't hurt that I'm an athlete and their rolls are huge!).

What is your favourite TV show?
My favourite TV show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but as that hasn't been on the air for a decade, I absolutely loved Orange is the New Black and Downton Abbey.

As an athlete, if there was one thing you could change about clothing what would it be?
I wear a spandex suit for most of the day, so I've had the privilege of seeing all shapes and body types in the most revealing clothing. I appreciate all types of fashion and style, but I guess a general rule that I'd like to throw out to people is to wear the RIGHT SIZE! If a size 10 fits you better than a size 8, please opt for the 10... you're the only one that'll know and you will most definitely look better!

Do you have any superstitions?
I don't have many superstitions, but do believe in karma. I feel like if you live by the "golden rule" things will work out the way they're supposed to.

If you weren't an Olympic athlete, what would your dream job be?
I absolutely love acting, and to win an Oscar would most definitely be my dream. That's a little unrealistic, so my 'realistic' dream job would be to be a director or editor for movie trailers or music videos.

 

McNaughton-2-USE-James McNaughton, 26, was born in Newmarket, Ont., and began competing internationally in 2011 after attending his first recruitment camp during the lead-up to the Vancouver 2012 Olympic Winter Games.

Photo courtesy of James McNaughton.
Name:
James McNaughton

Event: Bobsleigh

What do you enjoy most about Calgary?
I love how close the mountains are.

What is your favourite summer sport?
Wakeboarding, fishing, boating and four-wheeling are all tied.

What unhealthy food do you crave most during training?
Chips.

Name your most visited restaurant in the city. What do you order?
Macleod Sushi and BBQ. All you can eat.

What is your favourite TV show?
Alaska Gold.

As an athlete, if there was one thing you could change about clothing what would it be?
Make jeans that fit big legs!

Do you have any superstitions?
You get what you put in.

If you weren't an Olympic athlete, what would your dream job be?
Firefighter.

 

  


McRae USEAt 21, Kimberley McRae is one of the youngest members of the Canadian luge team. She was born in Victoria, B.C., but Calgary is her hometown. In December 2011, McRae won silver at the America-Pacific Championships.

Photo courtesy of Kimberly McRae.

Name:
Kimberley McRae

Event: Luge

What do you enjoy most about Calgary?
In Calgary, I would have to say family and friends — and of course the beautiful Bow River.

What is your favourite summer sport?
My favourite summer sport would be soccer.

What unhealthy food do you crave most during training?
Pizza is a big one.

Name your most visited restaurant in the city. What do you order?
Juree's Thai Place on 16th Avenue would be the most visited. I would order, whether I am with people or by myself, red curry, green curry, pad Thai and coconut rice.

What is your favourite TV show?
Band of Brothers.

As an athlete, if there was one thing you could change about clothing what would it be?
As a luge athlete, if I could change something about our equipment I would change the giant lead weight vest that we wear on our butts and back. Definitely not a flattering sport!

Do you have any superstitions?
No superstitions. I choose not to just in case something happens that influences the superstition.

If you weren't an Olympic athlete, what would your dream job be?
If I wasn't an Olympic athlete, my dream job would be to be a doctor with Doctors Without Boarders.

 


Wickenheiser USEHayley Wickenheiser was the first woman to play full-time professional hockey in a position other than goalie, and is the longest serving member of Canada's National Women's team. Wickenheiser's hometown is Shaunavon, Sask., but she moved to Calgary in 1991.

Photo courtesy of Mike Redwood,  Canadian Olympic Committee
Name:
Hayley Wickenheiser

Event: Ice Hockey

What do you enjoy most about Calgary?
I love where I live. I am five minutes from the rink, from the highway to the mountains where I love to chill out, and two minutes from shopping or amazing trail systems, but my little place is tucked away so it feels like I am in a forest.

What is your favourite summer sport?
I played Olympic-level softball, but these days I like dirt biking, foot biking and hiking. I also really, really love cycling.

What unhealthy food do you crave most during training?
Chocolate! And I indulge in dark chocolate when I am craving it.

Name your most visited restaurant in the city. What do you order?
Notable in Bowness is a favourite. I can't pick a favourite menu item. They are all so good. I also recently had one of the best meals of my life at Cassis Bistro!

What is your favourite TV show?
I watch a lot of movies, but not a whole lot of regular TV shows.

As an athlete, if there was one thing you could change about clothing
what would it be?
Obviously that it would wash itself! Haha.

Do you have any superstitions?
No, not really. I have routines for sure. But they aren't really superstitions.

If you weren't an Olympic athlete, what would your dream job be?
ER doctor. In fact, it is what I plan to be when I am done hockey.

Sochi fast facts: 

• Sochi will be home to the 22nd Winter Olympics. The city, which was selected as host in 2007, will host the first Olympics in the Russian Federation since the breakup of the USSR.

• This year there will be 88 nations participating, and it is estimated that over 2500 athletes will be in attendance.

• Eight events will make their debut in Sochi, with four of these events awarding medals to both men and women. New events include:

• Halfpipe and slopestyle will be added to freestyle skiing
• Slopestyle and slalom race will be added to snowboarding
• Women's ski jump will be a new event
• New relay events in both luge and biathlon
• Team figure skating competition
• At $50 billion and rising, these games will be the most expensive in the history of the Olympics

Editor's note: Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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    COMMENTS: In accordance with our web policy, we reserve the right to edit reader comments for length, clarity, taste or legal reasons. In an effort to maintain reasonable community standards, the Calgary Journal will not publish comments that contain profanity, contain personal attacks, or are potentially libelous.'

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