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Ohno Zone
Ohno Zone Interview, June 2003
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Steven Bradbury and Apolo Anton Ohno shake hands on medal podium in Salt Lake CitySteven Bradbury shakes Apolo Ohno's hand on the medal podium in Salt Lake City, February 2002

Ohno Zone: Australia (and Brisbane, where you're from) isn't known as a mecca for winter sports. How did you get started in short track speedskating?

Steven Bradbury: My father was a speed skater and I was introduced at a young age. Short track has never been a popular sport in Australia but it has been around a long time. The first short track world champion in 1978 was Australian.

I grew up in Sydney and moved to Brisbane at age 15. Brisbane has been the home of most of Australia's best skaters over the last 10 years. The rink utilised has the best ice conditions in Australia (still not very good though).

OZ: What is the status of short track as a sport in Australia? Did it become more popular after your success in the 2002 Winter Olympics?

SB: Short track experienced an overwhelming number of kids wanting to skate right after SLC 2002. The ice time, number of coaches and number of skates was not enough. Many of the kids did not continue with the sport but maybe 15% did. I hope to see at least one of them go on to be a champion skater.

OZ: U.S. fans really enjoyed your commentary on NBC during the 2003 World Cup in Salt Lake City. How did this opportunity happen and do you expect to repeat it?

SB: I'm glad they enjoyed it, I did too. I was not sure how it would go but this is good feedback and NBC is keen to have me back next year and probably the 2006 Olympics as well.

OZ: You had a couple of life-threatening accidents as a skater (Steven broke his neck in a 2000 training accident, and nearly bled to death in 1994 when he was impaled on a competitor's blade, cutting his femoral artery). What made you continue? Did you ever have fear after those experiences?

SB: Fear was never a consideration. I continued because I had not satisfied myself. I had great chances to win gold in Lillehammer [in] 1994 and Nagano [in] 1998 but either skated badly or had bad luck. Breaking my neck 18 months before Salt Lake resulted in a change of attitude. I had been to three Winter Olympics and not done my best at any of them. That became my goal for Salt Lake, simply to do my best, do that and I could walk away, no regrets. Everyone knows the result, I did my best and probably should have finished 9th, but good fortune stepped in and I was there to pick up the pieces.

OZ: Who are your favorite up and coming skaters on the world scene?

SB: Enjoy watching J.P. Kepka when he is rocking. Jon Eley the tall skinny British kid is interesting to watch. [Tatiana] Borodulina the young Russian girl is definitely one to watch. Monette's brute force skating style is great to watch.

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