Four years can make all the difference.
Marsha Hudey went into her first Olympic games wide-eyed, new to international competition and at just 23 years old.
Now, at 27 and with four more seasons of short track speed skating under her belt she feels more prepared than ever.
“Sochi was … a lot for me to take in in one year. And the last four years I’ve just had more experience on the World Cup circuit and been through experiences that (have made me) grow as a skater and grow as a person.”
Hudey placed 31st in those first Games in 2014 and is looking to improve that in a big way when she takes to the track on Feb. 18.
And she’s within striking distance on the world stage. She finished the 2016-17 season fourth in the world at the 500m and broke through for her first medal in November.
“Last year a skated really, really well and I had so many fourth places finishes so I was just shy of the podium and the silver medal was, it was one of those things I knew I was going to get a medal I just didn’t know when and so when it finally happened I was ecstatic,” she said.
Hudey’s love of speed skating comes from her father who was a speed skater himself and has coached her in some capacity her whole life.
Hudey said she was on skates by the time she was four years old and on speed skates at age six or seven and in her early days trained with her siblings.
“My dad could coach and we could skate and it was a great family activity.”
Now she’s hoping she can follow in the footsteps of some of the greats that came before her like Catriona Le May Doan, Susan Ach and Cindy Klassen who put Canadian speed skating on the map.
“Those girls have done phenomenal and have done a ton for our sport,” Hudey said. “(They’re) big shoes to fill but I’ve very much appreciated their example and their leadership in the sport and it’s just a privilege to be a part of the speed skating family.”