Speed skater Nathalie Lambert was on the ice at the age of 12 and competing by 13. Naturally talented, she made the National Team in 1981 and was Speed Skating Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year in the long track discipline in 1986. Yet by that time her interests had shifted into the evolving field of short track speed skating and the following year she set a world record in the 3,000m event and was runner up at the 1987 World Championships. In 1988 short track speed skating was a demonstration event at that year’s Winter Olympics and, although she did not find as much success as she had in the past, she still took home a bronze medal in the 3,000m relay. By 1990 she had bounced back, however, and won her first of five consecutive honors as Speed Skating Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year, although she shared the 1991 award with Sylvie Daigle. During this time she set another world record in the 3,000m relay at the 1991 World Championships, a tournament at which she took the overall title, and participated in the 1992 Winter Olympics, where short track speed skating was now an official part of the program. Although she placed only sixth in the 500m event, she took gold in the 3,000m relay and was chosen to be Canada’s flagbearer during the closing ceremonies. That year she was also inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and named Athlete of the Year by the Mérite Sportif Québécois.
Lambert’s athletic career, however, was not yet over. She was world champion once again in 1993 and set another world record, this time in the 1,000m event. At the 1994 Winter Olympics she was fourteenth at the 500m event, but took home silver medals in the 1,000m competition and the 3,000m relay. When she retired after winning the 1994 World Championship overall title, she had won a gold medal in the 3,000m relay every year at the tournament since 1986. She made a brief comeback in the late 1990s and took home another gold medal in the event at the 1997 World Championships. A broken ankle in November 1997, however, ended her hopes of participating at the 1998 Winter Olympics. In addition to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, she was inducted into the Speed Skating Hall of Fame in 1991, the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2004 she was assistant Chef de Mission for the athletes at that year’s Summer Olympic Games and was named Chef de Mission outright for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.