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2014 Olympic profile: Dominique Maltais

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According to Snowboard Canada on Tuesday, Dominique Maltais of Charlevoix, Quebec was named to her third Canadian Olympic team in women's snowboard cross.

Maltais won a bronze medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino and finished a disappointing 20th at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancover.

But four years after her Olympic disappointment, it seems Maltais is a strong medal contender for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. She has finished in first place in the World Cup standings in women's snowboard cross the last three years and is the World Cup leader this year.

Still, she will experience tough competition from American star Lindsey Jacobellis, who beat Maltais in Lake Louise on December 21 and Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic, who beat Maltais in Andorra on January 12.

At 33, this appears to be Maltais' last Olympic Winter Games. Here is my interview with one of Canada's best female snowboarders.

Congratulations on your World Cup victory in Andorra on January 11. What were the major reasons for your success there?

"It's always hard to come back from a holiday vacation and put yourself in the racing mood again. I think that I never gave up during the holidays. I trained really hard and I just made sure I would be ready for those races (in Andorra). I just wanted to keep going. I wanted to see how well I could do if I was well prepared. That's what I did. I was really happy with the win and the second place. I'm feeling good right now. I have a good feeling on my board. I feel strong and fast. I don't think I could be more prepared than this."

Canada has a great 1-2 punch in women's snowboard cross with yourself and Olympic champion Maelle Ricker of Vancouver, who is also the defending World Champion. Maybe talk about the rivalry that you and Maelle have?

"Yeah, it's good. We are always pushing each other. I think it has made us really strong."

Outside of snowboarding, you have been a professional firefighter in the past. Is that something you would like to return to after the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi?

"Yes, I have a couple of options. I might go back as a frefighter. I will probably keep going as a snowboarder for another year so I have a smooth transition between my athlete career and my professional career."

What would you consider are your strengths as a high performance snowboarder?

"Since Vancouver, I am really focusing on those little things I can control. I am focusing on my physical training, technical training, equipment, mental preparation. I am working on all of those things to make myself a better athlete. I am involved in training and everything that I am touching is to be a better athlete and to be faster on my board."

Other than Maelle, who do you think will be your major competitors?

"I think the American (Jacobellis) will be fast. I think the young Czech girl (Eva Samkova) is always fast."

How meaningful would it be for you to win a second Olympic medal in Sochi?

"I think it would be a really happy ending, considering all the effort I have put in my sport. I'm really dedicated to be a good athlete and if I could finish my career well, I would be the happiest girl in the world."

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