The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro may be two years away, but there is no question that Canadian women's badminton player Michelle Li is making some noise. Currently based out of Toronto, Li recently won the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and on Monday, according to the BBC won her opening match at the 2014 World Badminton Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Currently ranked 20th in the world, Li made Olympic headlines at the 2012 Olympic Games in London when she finished in fourth place in women's doubles with partner Alexandra Bruce of Toronto. Prior to her journey to Denmark, Li spoke with me to discuss her recent achievements and to look ahead to significant competitions to come.
Congratulations on your gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. How meaningful is it to be the first Canadian woman to win a singles gold medal in badminton at the Commonwealth Games?
It's definitely a shock. It's more less a surprise. I was going into the tournament not really expecting much. I also didn't know the history behind regarding who has won a gold medal and who hasn't. I was definitely very happy that I could be a part of history. It has always been one of my goals to make history for Canada and I'm really happy it's starting to come true.
For those that say the Commonwealth Games have lost their prestige over the last few years, what would you tell them?
I don't think so. I think the Commonwealth Games is still a very big event. I was in India four years ago in Delhi, and I think each time it was organized so well. Everything this time was perfect. The volunteers were perfect. So to were the organization and setup. The whole experience was amazing. It was something that I have always dreamed of when I was young, and it definitely gears me up for future bigger tournaments like the Olympics. It was very well done.
How is your preparation going for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro?
They're good. I'm kind of taking everything step-by-step. My next goal is the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. That will be another stepping stone towards the 2016 Olympics.
It was just two years ago when you and Alexandra Bruce made headlines by finishing in fourth place in women’s doubles at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. What do you remember most from the Olympic Games?
I think what I remember most is playing on the court in the semi-finals against Japan. The whole stadium chanted "Bruce Li, Bruce Li, Bruce Li". That was very unforgettable. When we walked in and people chanted "Bruce Li", I had goosebumps right away. It was really crazy.
Did you agree with the decision by the officials to disqualify the teams for trying to lose the matches?
I wouldn't say agree or disagree because I never would have thought they would have disqualified them. I didn't agree with what the teams did in trying to throw the matches. I'm not sure if that was the best way to deal with it, but I think something had to be done because I don't agree with the whole cheating thing and losing on purpose. I don't have much of an opinion about disqualifying them, but it worked out in a good way for us though.
What are your future goals when it comes to badminton?
I definitely want to reach top ten. I definitely want to medal at the Olympics and reach my potential.