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Top Ten List: Moments in Sport that Motivate Me
By:  Tom McCarthy   (2007/11/09)


Sometimes I get those days when I head out on a workout, a run or a rollerski or whatever, and I’m super-tired. The legs aren’t firing, there’s nothing bouncy, and I’m just dragging my butt around. Then I drift off into some daydream about a moment of sporting glory – and before I know it, my pace has picked up and I’m feeling a little bit more jump in the legs. It’s not just the race, or the event, or whatever – it’s the specific moment in time that gives me the thrill. And remember – these are moments that get ME going, so some of them are my own personal ones!! Here are my top ten moments that get me going on a tired workout day – and yes, they’re all Canadian:

Beckie Scott wins Gold!

1. Beckie Scott, 2002 Olympics, Salt Lake City: This was the performance that started Canada’s nordic skiing renaissance. Beckie coming down the last hill tucked into the pack, the two Russian cheaters out in front. There are two moments here – Beckie having the courage to step out of the tracks earlier and go for it, and then the metres before she crosses the line, when she finally believes she’s got the medal. Those two spaces in time were just incredible – and Jack’s call on CBC was pretty good, too.

Chandra Crawford wins Gold!

2. Chandra Crawford, 2006 Olympics, Torino: Chandra was so dominant on this day, and coming from a relatively unknown international profile, this was a pretty amazing performance. Winning everything in the heats. There were a lot of good moments there, but the one that gets me is the last little dip, and her tuck-skate that put the race away and the gold medal around her neck. She carried her speed so well there was no contest for the last 100 metres. Chandra had that whole day dialed in – maybe the best day for Canadian skiing?

Simon Whitfield wins Gold!

3. Simon Whitfield, 2000 Olympic Triathlon, Sydney. If you weren’t watching this because you thought the opening event of the Olympics, first-time-ever in the Games, was going to be anonymous, you really missed out. How awesome was it seeing Simon run through the field. Two specific moments here: Simon running past the German athlete in the last kilometre – that amazing burst of speed – and his jump as he breaks the finish banner. Amazing.

Sara Renner wins Bronze!

4. Sara Renner, 2005 World Champs, Oberstdorf: Sara looked so out of it at the top of the last hill. This has to be one of the iconic moments in Canadian skiing – she’s so out of it on the finish stretch, and the three Swedes are cruising in – then all of sudden, she appears at the back of the panning camera that’s showing the last straightaway, and she’s throwing these huge double-poles, and you can just hear her thinking “I believe!” – and then she squeezes in for 3rd. That moment – that moment when the announcer saw her and got excited, and she popped into the screen, and she knew it could happen – that was awesome.

Tom in 2000

5. Me – 2000 Junior Nationals, Thunder Bay, 30k Classic: This was more agony than glory, but it always gets me moving. One of my best ever races – was in 2nd place and 3rd place all race, going for my first Jr National medal in my last race as a junior… and with three of us fighting for 2nd place, I tripped at the bottom of the last hill, just a bit, but enough to split my old boot between the shoe and sole, and so I ran up the last hill with my ski hanging off my shoe. 4th. But the moment I really remember of that race is the break – 15 guys together at about 10k, then Kates goes off the front, and it was that split second where the pack was breaking up, and I just scooted up the middle and went off in 2nd. Didn’t even think about it – just went. It didn’t feel hard at the time. A good race decision, and one that’s hard to repeat.

Joe Carter Home Run!

6. Joe Carter, Toronto Blue Jays, 1993 World Series: This moment was maybe so awesome because I was right at that age where it was magical. Joe hits his walk-off home run in Game 6, bottom of the 9th, and I’ve never seen someone jump higher around the bases. I was caught up in that moment – I remember running around the house screaming. It was great.

Montreal Canadiens

7. Montreal Canadiens, 1993 Stanley Cup, Montreal: This, I always maintain to my friend’s amusement, is the best ‘team’ effort. The Habs won it with a bunch of scrappy, no-name Quebecers, and Patrick Roy. This was the last Cup won in Canada to this date. They won it in Montreal, the best fans in hockey, and the city went nuts – there were riots and cars lit on fire. Carbonneau, Muller, Odelein, Roy, Brisebois, Damphouse, Racicot, Leclair… some would go on to distinguished careers, but with the exception of Roy, there were no bona-fide stars on that team. The moment I remember is the team picture on-ice with the Cup after the game – I bought the poster that summer, and it’s hung proudly in every place I’ve lived, eer since.

Mario Lemieux #66

8. Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins, 1991 Stanley Cup: I think it was ’91… in any event, it was the third period and the Pens needed a goal. Lemieux was in his prime then – and I don’t know if anyone had better hands then Lemieux at his prime - and I remember him going up alone against two defencemen. It looked routine, but Lemiuex knew it wasn’t going to be. He turned one defenseman around, put the puck between the other one’s legs, came out on the other end all alone (I’m pretty sure one of them fell), and tied the goalie in knots. They talk about sport ‘mastery’ – that was it, right there.

Tom National Sprint

9. Me – 2006 Nationals, Thunder Bay, Sprint: This was another agony of defeat moment, but there were two glorious spots in there. My qualifier was ordinary, but for some reason I skied great in the slush. I led out the quarter, and beat Crooks into the line to get to the semi – that was a good moment, on that finish stretch. Then I led out the semi – and there’s no better feeling than being in front of a group like that, just going stinking fast. Of course, it went downhill from there – a solid second place until Nighbor and I got tangled. But that was still a great race, and moments I’ll remember.


10. Joe Carter, Toronto Blue Jays, 1992 World Series: This was the first World Series for Canada, and I was super-caught up in this. Joe caught the final out in Game 6, and I remember him with arms raised, foot still on the bag. I was into those two years with the Jays.

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