Canadian Olympians aiming to top Vancouver Games medal count in Sochi
Published Sunday, February 2, 2014 6:35PM EST
Pressure is mounting on Canada's Olympians to top the number of medals won during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics at the upcoming Sochi Games, and most are welcoming the challenge.
In 2010 Canada won 26 medals in total -- 14 of which were gold. Canada finished first among all the competing countries for the most gold medals won during the Vancouver Games.
This time around, members of Canada's Olympic team are once again aiming for that top position on the pedestal.
"Of course I want some medals," speedskater Charles Hamelin told CTV News. "I want to come back home with two at least, and if they can be gold it will be perfect."
Canada's Women's hockey team is coming to Sochi with a winning record. They are three-time defending Olympic champions.
Team veteran Hayley Wickenheiser, who will carry the Canadian flag during the opening ceremonies, said the team welcomes high fan expectations.
"I think that expectation has now shifted to the rest of the Olympic team as a whole and right across all sports," she said. "And I think that's a great position to be in, you want to be in a position where people care and they want you to be successful and expect that."
Many members of the Canadian team are confident that the record set in Vancouver can be beaten.
Canadian athletes are already winning in other international sporting events, so it shouldn't be too different at the Olympics, speedskater Jessica Hewitt said.
"If you look at how many medals we're winning on the world cup, I know it's different but there's a lot of medals coming in from all sports, so I think it's definitely possible."
In fact, winning more medals may come down to basic math. This is the largest Canadian contingent ever at a Winter Olympics, with 221 athletes competing for Canada.
As well, there are 36 more events this year in Sochi than there were in Vancouver, including 12 new sports where Canadians excel, such as halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle.
"This is it, this is why we're here and I think we're going to give 110 per cent of what we can do and go for it," snowboarder Sebastien Toutant said.
Mogul skier Alexandre Bilodeau has already had a taste of Olympic Gold. He was the first Canadian athlete to win a gold medal at the Vancouver Games, and now he wants another.
"It would be amazing, we will have to prove what we can do," he said.
With a report by CTV National News' Peter Akman