A sports hero's sports hero: Canadian Olympians reveal their idols

Athletes reflect on iconic figures as Winter Games near

A sports hero's sports hero: Canadian Olympians reveal their idols
Short track speed skater Charles Hamelin, left, sees a little bit of himself in tennis star Roger Federer. © Canadian Press/Getty Images

The Canadian Press

Even Canada's most idolized Olympians have heroes of their own.

The Canadian Press asked some athletes attending the PyeongChang Games who they admire or what other sports they'd like to try.

Here are some of the answers:

Alpine skier Manny Osborne-Paradis — figure skaters:

"I always think it's amazing how the figure skaters and the ski racers are so alike. It's crazy. The girls and the guys, everybody. In Sochi, I went to a whole bunch of their events. They're probably my closest friends outside of ski racing. We all jive like two peas in a pod."

Spencer O'Brien — boxer Muhammad Ali:

"It's funny because I find I'm really not like him as an athlete in respect to his candour. He was quite arrogant and lots of bravado. I'm not really like that, but there's something about that complete belief that he had in himself and his abilities. I find that inspiring. Also his ability to transcend sport and to be a catalyst for change in a very tumultuous time in history. I find the sacrifices he made were so incredible. To me, that's the epitome of a champion and the ultimate athlete."

Luger Sam Edney — alpine skiers:

"I think from my days as a young Nancy Greene ski racer, I've always wanted to be a ski racer. I look at the Manny Osborne and Erik Guay and think that would be a pretty cool job. I don't know that I'm fully envious of it because those guys are pretty nuts. I think they're pretty incredible athletes and great dudes. I'm cheering for them always."

Bobsleigh brakeman Melissa Lotholz — pilot Kaillie Humphries:

"One hundred per cent Kaillie has influenced my career the most. I came out in 2014 to try out for the team. A number of girls retired from the team or took a break from the sport. I found myself going from watching her in 2014 win Olympic gold to sliding with her in my first World Cup."

Short-tracker Charles Hamelin — tennis player Roger Federer:

"He's a bit like me, a veteran of his sport and still winning some titles. Some people said even five years ago he was too old to compete, to win again. He's just proven they were wrong."

Bobsledder Jesse Lumsden — Canadian soccer coach John Herdman:

"Probably one of the most inspiring passionate people I've heard speak, next to Pinball Clemons. Those two together, I think the room would explode."