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44OLYMPIC REVIEW STAR INTERVIEW IRON LADY HAYLEY WICKENHEISER WILL BE LEADING THE CANADIAN WOMEN'S ICE HOCKEY TEAM IN SEARCH OF A THIRD CONSECUTIVE GOLD MEDAL IN VANCOUVER. KATE ZIMMERMAN CATCHES UP WITH A TRUE OLYMPIAN, WHO HAS MORE THAN ONE STRING TO HER BOW…

STAR INTERVIEW C anadian hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser remembers exactly what launched her dream of competing at an Olympic Games – the Winter Games in Calgary in 1988. " They were one of the biggest inspirations of my life," says the woman Sports Illustratedrates as the 20th toughest athlete in the world. Wickenheiser and her family had driven to Calgary from their hometown of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan. They watched Finland's Matti Nykanen win the first of his three gold medals, in ski jumping. Young Hayley, then aged ten and an ardent softball and hockey player, was swept away – not just by the electricity surrounding Nykanen's achievements but also in the heady atmosphere of the Calgary event. She resolved right then to switch to ski jumping and follow in the Finn's astonishing tracks. Alas – her dream of airborne glory was fated to remain unfulfilled. Instead, Wickenheiser became one of the best female hockey players in the world, leading her team to two Olympic gold medals, one silver, and nine International Ice Hockey Federation ( IIHF) World Women's Championships. At the same time, she pioneered the role of female skater on a professional men's hockey team. She also broke new ground as the first woman to compete in a team sport in both the Olympic Winter and Summer Games. Trying to win ' em all? Wickenheiser has certainly tried. As a matter of fact, she says it was the rare experience of not winning that made her first shot at a gold medal, in Nagano in 1998, " the greatest and the worst experience of my life". Team Canada had arrived at the historic first Olympic Women's Hockey tournament feeling hopeful after a competitive season against the US – but ended up taking silver. Wickenheiser, 19, fell into " an Olympic depression". It was assistant coach Wally Kozak who reminded her that she shouldn't play for medals, but for the joy inherent in the game. After all, it was a passion for hockey that had got her started. Wickenheiser's dad played in an old-timers' league in Saskatchewan, and when four- year-old Hayley expressed interest, he built an outdoor ? OLYMPIC REVIEW45 LeftWickenheiser has been hailed as one of the top female hockey stars in the world BelowOn the ice doing what she does best