Speed skater Susan Auch in the race of her life in Manitoba
The two-time Olympic silver medalist is running for the Conservatives in the Assiniboia riding in the Manitoba provincial election which will be contested Tuesday.
"Well, there's no recovery phase,” joked Auch in a recent telephone interview. “You don't have to sleep and you don't have to eat well."
But you do need endurance and, although sprinting was her game as a speed skater, Auch said she is committed to making change over the long haul.
"I don't have to do this,” she said. “I'm choosing to do this. For me, I've done a lot in my life. I don't really have the urge to prove that I can do more, but I really believe that I can make a difference."
Auch's competitive side has definitely surfaced in the campaigning (seen out with Cindy Klassen at right). She has been trying to convince voters that Manitoba can be much better in many areas – including health, crime rate, education and getting more for their extremely high taxes. She said people get excited when she talks to them and feel they've been accepting the status quo for too long and “now we need to look at becoming a leader in Canada again.”
"It's been fun, it's been a really good experience,” she said. “You know I've been involved in politics of sport for a long time. You do learn how you can have an impact and that's what really driven me to do this. I love Manitoba. I'm super proud of Manitoba. And I think it can be so much more than it is. I want to keep our young people here.
“Right now, there's a whole generation of young people, it's not for them when I leave Manitoba or if I leave Manitoba, it's sort of when. We need to change that. We need to keep them here and not just have them come back when they have children and they want their family support. We need to find opportunities for them. That's just not going to happen with an NDP government."
It's been a challenge for Auch, who has three young girls – twin 6-year-olds Kennedy and Jordan and 4-year-old Alex. She had been thinking about entering politics for a long time and felt she could make more of an impact at the provincial level.
A big part of her platform is promoting a healthy lifestyle and getting people active.
"It makes kids focused in schools. It makes them engaged in communities. I don't know if it's done well anywhere in Canada. It's certainly not culture the way it is in Australia.”
Auch, who did a lot of work for the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport (CAAWS), said there are not enough women in Canadian government.
"We're a fully forward country, yet the numbers are very, very small. I'd love to hopefully be an inspiration to get more women involved."