GET TO KNOW...KIM GAUCHER
This series lets you get to know the men and women from our national team programs. This time we discover Mission, BC native Kim Gaucher (nee Smith) who is currently working as part of the University of Utah women's basketball staff for the 2013-14 season as the Director of Community Relations.
Canada Basketball (CB): You've played with Team Canada since 2001, 13 summers with the team in total. What does it mean to you to play for your country?
Kim Gaucher (KG): There is truly no greater honour. I have played at a lot of different levels and no other basketball experience has come close to giving me the kind of pride and joy I feel hearing our national anthem before tip-off.
CB: 2013 was a fantastic year for the team that ended with a FIBA Americas silver medal - and a berth at next year's FIBA World Championships. What was your best memory of this past summer? Is there a game or moment that stands out most for you?
KG: The best memories I have at the end of each summer aren't really ever basketball memories. I just love the daily grind if you will of playing basketball and hanging out with some of my best friends.
Winning silver this year was pretty bittersweet. The last two World Championships and Olympics for that matter we qualified for were all on last chance do-or-die games. The whole medal ceremony is much more enjoyable if you haven't just lost a game. While I know in my head it was a better finish than years past, I can't help but look back and get upset with how we played in that final game. It has been driving me in my workouts and hopefully my teammates feel the same way.
Kim Gaucher at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship
CB: In 2012, together with Team Canada, you participated in the London Olympics, which is such a unique experience. Often we hear about the distractions at an Olympic Games. How did you handle that? How do you keep your focus in that kind of situation?
KG: I never once felt distracted at the games. While there was always a lot going on, games, practices, and prep were all the same as any other tournament. I think being on a team helped. We were all in the same buildings together and managed to keep each other accountable at all times!
CB: Did you watch the Winter Olympics from Sochi? After having been to an Olympics yourself, do you watch it differently now?
KG: I love the Olympics, I get so excited watching other athletes realize their dreams. I think it's impossible not to watch it differently. It brought back so many memories from London.
Kim Gaucher at the 2012 London Olympics
CB: This summer, at the end of August, Team Canada will be participating in the FIBA World Championships for Women held in Turkey, whereas last year you competed in Mexico. How is it for you, having to adapt to these different environments, cultures and food?
KG: Travel is one of the greatest perks of this job. I love learning new cultures and attempting to speak new languages. While some of the places we have been to adapting to the food is quite difficult (China), CB works hard to help us perform at our best. Last year in Mexico our managers and physios made frequent trips to the markets to get fresh fruit and veggies, as well as oatmeal (always a staple).
CB: With Team Canada, you are one of the senior players in a leadership role. Who are the leaders you have looked up to you in your career as an athlete? Have you had many role models?
KG: I have been blessed to have had some great leaders. I have had great coaching in Bruce Langford, Elaine Elliott and Allison McNeill, all of whom taught me invaluable lessons. Besides my coaches, my older sister Michelle Smith has always been one of my biggest role models since I was a child. Teresa Gabrielle is my final role model; I have looked up to her since I was a grade 9 student at Heritage Park.
CB: Do you have any pre-game rituals? Superstitions?
KG: I am so boring with pre-game rituals. I eat, nap and shower. Nothing special.
CB: What advice do you have for young Canadian kids, looking to progress in basketball and become an elite player like you?
KG: Love what you do! Becoming a national team player is hard. In high school I went to the gym to shoot everyday before school started. To this day I still get to practices early or stay a few minutes late to put up extra shots. To become a top player you have to be willing to work for it. It won't feel as hard when you have a passion for the game.