To Win Gold

Monday, June 2, 2008

This year has been a memorable one for Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin. He was the NHL's scoring champion, signed a record contract and made his first playoff appearance. But the highlight for him, he said, was amassing six goals and six assists in nine games to help Team Russia win gold in the International Ice Hockey Federation's world championships last month.

It was an unbelievable year for me. In Washington we made a big run and got to the playoffs, and I was the scoring leader in points and goals. But the most important thing for me was that I win something, so I won the gold medal, and that was it for me, an unbelievable feeling. It means you are the champion of the world, you know?

It's for all of Russia, everywhere, we all share this gold medal. It was also special to beat Canada in their home [Russia rallied to win, 5-4, in overtime in Quebec City] after Canada won last year in Moscow. We were pretty excited because we had to come back, and it was Canada, in front of their fans.

When we fell behind [in the championship game] it was tough. But we keep it going, keep it going and we never stop and got some goals and win in overtime. It was a great team win. I went over to [teammate and friend] Ilya Kovalchuk [who scored the winner] and told him he was a great player and a great teammate and leader and that is why he scored. He got the job done and scored the biggest goal for our country.

The team went back to Russia after we win, and I met the president Medvedev, who said it was unbelievable what the team did for the whole country. He said the whole country feels good because we win. That's why it was a special feeling for me.

-- Interview by Tarik El-Bashir

© 2008 The Washington Post Company