Now a renowned Canadian speed skater, Catriona Le May Doan did not rise to national prominence until 1998, despite having previously competed at two Winter Olympics in 1992 and 1994 and finding success in international championships. A specialist in the 500 m, she broke the world record time on several occasions over the course of her career, sometimes breaking her own record, and was the first woman to complete the event in under 38 seconds, which she achieved in 1997. She was a champion in the event at the 1998 Games and claimed bronze in the 1000 m race as well, the same year that she also began to reach the podium regularly at World Championships and World Sprint Championships. In 1998 alone she took gold in the 500 m and the Sprint, along with silver in the 1000 m. Through 2002, she won an additional three gold, one silver and four bronze medals at these competitions. For over a month in 2001, she held the best 14 times ever skated at the 500 m, a prelude to her second Olympic gold in the event in 2002, where she was flagbearer for Canada at the Opening Ceremonies. At the time of her retirement in 2003, she held the World and Olympic records in the sport (the latter of which she still holds as of 2009).
Le May Doan was named Canadian Female Athlete of the Year on three occasions (1998, 2001 and 2002) and won the Lou Marsh Trophy, given annually to Canada’s top athlete, in 2002. After her retirement, she took up motivational speaking (in both English and French), commentating on speed skating events for CBC and CTV and playing golf, the latter of which seems to be showing nearly as much promise as her previous athletic career. She is a spokesperson for numerous charitable organizations, including the Saskatoon Foundation Catriona Le May Doan Endowment for Children and Youth, the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Canada, Right to Play, and Ontario’s Lakefield Oval Project, and is a member of the organizing committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics. She is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Sports Hall of Fame and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005.
Personal Bests: 500 – 37.22 (2002); 1000 – 1:14.50 (2001); 1500 – 1:57.50 (2001); 3000 – 4:26.98 (2003); 5000 – 8:14.52 (1994).