Janie Green’s BC Winter Games experience began with bitter disappointment.
But by the end, she had so many medals around her neck, it was a wonder she could hold her head up.
The Mission native, competing in her hometown’s Games, blitzed the short track speed skating podium, winning six medals in the U14 age class – three gold (400-metre race 2, 200m pursuit, 2000m mixed relay), one silver (3000m points race) and two bronze (400m race 1, 1500m).
Green got off to a great start in the first 400m event of the Games, making it to the final and leading for the bulk of the race. But she was knocked down by an opponent (who was later disqualified), and the gold medal that had been within her grasp was downgraded to bronze.
“It felt pretty sucky, because I was so close,” Green acknowledged. “But it was pretty easy (to deal with mentally). I just focused on my other races, instead of the one that I had messed up on.
“The (200m) pursuit was right after, and I got first in that, so that helped a lot.”
Green is a confident athlete, but even she didn’t foresee a six-medal haul from the Games.
“It’s pretty surprising that I did this well, because I wasn’t sure who else would be there,” she said. “I knew a few of the other competitors from other meets, and I knew I could at least medal for at least one distance, but this was pretty surprising.”
Competing in a major event so close to home was a thrill for Green, who had a lot of support in the stands at the Abbotsford Recreation Centre.
“I’ve had a bunch of friends – and some teachers I haven’t seen in years – show up,” she said. “It was pretty awesome. They knew I was good, but they’d never actually seen me skate.”
Green comes by her talent honestly – both her parents are former Olympic speed skaters and are active in coaching. Her mother Eden Donatelli Green won silver and bronze medals at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, and father Julian Green represented Great Britain.
“It was way harder to watch her race than me racing myself,” Donatelli Green said with a wry chuckle.
“I tell you, I’ve never been so nervous. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been working on the Games for the past 18 months, but this has kind of become a mini-Olympics to me. It was great . . . to see her seeing that her hard work equaled success. That’s a great lesson for kids to learn.”
Donatelli Green is the director of registration and results for the BC Winter Games, and she’s been thrilled about how the Games have gone in general.
“Things have gone really well, it feels like it’s been smooth,” she said. “I see so much community spirit, and it’s great to see. It feels like 2010 (the Vancouver Olympics). Everywhere you go, people are smiling and rallying together.
“We put a lot of pre-planning in, and it’s paid off. And there’s been so much support from the community.”