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Hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser chronicles life of an Olympian in new book

Hayley Wickenheiser hopes her new book Gold Medal Diary: Inside the World’s Greatest Sports Event will win over those who dismiss her sport as a two-horse race between Canada and the U.S.

One of the most recognizable names in Canadian hockey, Wickenheiser  opens the door to her life in the months leading up to the 2010 Olympics. She wants to convey to people the amount of preparation that goes into making the sport look easy. The book is an insider’s view of what it’s like, which may not be as glamorous or as exciting as people think.

Wickenheiser opens her diary in August when 26 players congregated in Calgary to try out for the Olympic team and ends it a few days after Canada’s 2-0 triumph over the U.S. for the gold medal.

As Wickenheiser chronicles Canada’s intense preparation, the team captain wears her heart on her sleeve in relating her internal struggles during that arduous journey.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist recorded her thoughts and feelings almost daily. The 32-year-old from Shaunavon, Sask., admitted when it came time to put them on paper with collaborator and  former Vancouver Sun sports reporter Wendy Long, she had to edit out some profanity.

“There’s a lot of ups and downs emotionally, both personally and from a team perspective. I tried to convey that as best I could and not just the good things, but the frustrations that come with it. I tried to make it as real a story as possible.”

Wickenheiser, the MVP and leading scorer at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, is an incredibly fit athlete, but she and the Canadian women were pushed to the edge of their physical capabilities in the six months before the Games.

As a mother, international hockey star and now university student,  Wickenheiser is a woman with broad perspective.

The media’s treatment of women’s hockey is a common thread throughout the book and you can almost feel Wickenheiser’s frustration. She also talks extensively about her relationship with her teammates, coaches and her 10-year-old son Noah, who is completely not interested in hockey and has to tolerate his mother’s obsession with the game.

For anyone who is a sports fan and wants to know what it’s like every single day for an athlete training for the Winter Games, this book provides a peek behind the curtain. Wickenheiser says, “It’s not so much a book about hockey, although that’s included, as it is about daily life as an Olympic athlete, or at least my experience.”

The book is available for preorder now.

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