CANOE NAGANO '98 ISP DIRECTORY
Sunday, February 15, 1998
Bedard won't call it quits . . . yet
NAGANO, Japan (CP) -- It wasn't Myriam Bedard's swan-song from international competition, but the former double gold medallist probably competed in her last Olympic event Sunday morning.
Following her 32nd-place finish in the women's 7.5-kilometre biathlon, Bedard said she won't retire immediately, but doubts she'll be in Salt Lake City four years from now.
"Chances that I participate in Salt Lake City are, let's say, 50 per cent," said Bedard, a native of Loretteville, Que. "But next year, there's two World Cup competitions near home, one in Quebec, the other in Lake Placid (N.Y.). I also want to compete in the world championship.
"I've never been in an international competition in front of my people. It would be stupid for me to hang up my skies six months before a World Cup event at home in Quebec."
Bedard, who won two golds in Lillehammer, Norway, was 50th in the 15-kilometre event last week.
While admitting that the Nagano Games have been by far her worse Olympics, Bedard blamed changing ski conditions for some of her problems.
"I have never seen such difficult conditions for the choice of wax since the beginning of my career," she said. "In fact, they are the worst Olympic Games I've ever been to when it comes to wax. When you have no control on this, it's not really pleasant for an athlete."
Michelle Collard of Vanderhoof, B.C., who finished 38th in the race, said she'll miss Bedard when the times comes.
"It'll be sad to see Myriam go," Collard said. "It's her that has made this sport known in Canada."
Russian Galina Koukleva won the gold Saturday, narrowly edging out rival Ursula Disl of Germany. Katrin Apel, also of Germany, took the bronze.