The Olympics are likely on the minds of most people in Vancouver and Whistler today, but no one more so than the athletes hoping to compete in the Games.

Canadian ice dancer Shae Lynn Bourne, who skated in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 Winter Games, said the only way to describe the countdown year for an athlete is “intense.”

“It’s such an adrenaline rush when it’s a year before because you realize, ‘Oh my gosh, my dream is just around the corner,’ ” Bourne told Metro News yesterday.

“You want to do everything right. It makes the training stressful but you’re also excited to get onto the ice. Every minute, you’re thinking about it. You go to bed and you think about it.”

Bourne said the training schedule and routine likely won’t change in the coming year, but athletes will be more driven.

“(In the next year) every commercial will be about 2010 so they’ll be (constantly) reminded. It gives them a little extra energy.”

She added that for many athletes the last 12 months are even more stressful because the qualifiers aren’t held until just before the Games

Bourne, who is now coaching ice dancers and Olympic hopefuls Andrew Poje and Kaitlyn Weaver, said it’s more nerve wracking being a trainer.

“I find it easier to go out and skate because then I have that control,” she said. “But you just have to sit back and let them do it.”

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